Pain Modulatory Profiles in Massage for Individuals With Neck Pain

  • days left to enroll
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Florida
Updated on 4 March 2022
manual therapy
arm pain


One in ten adults experience widespread pain. Neck pain, for example, is a prevalent condition with a high rate of recurrence that affects between 10.4% and 21.3% of the population annually.

Massage is a common manual therapy intervention for individuals with musculoskeletal pain. However, the mechanisms of massage are not well established. Also, the conditioned pain modulation (CPM) paradigm is a dynamic quantitative sensory testing measure of a pain inhibitory process in which pain sensitivity is lessened in response to a remotely applied painful stimulus.

This study will evaluate the association between pain inducing massage and the conditioned pain modulation paradigm in participants with a history of neck pain.


Conditioned pain modulation (CPM) is the physical manifestation of the diffuse noxious inhibitory control (DNIC), an endogenous pain inhibitory pathway in which pain inhibits pain. Conditioned pain modulation is less efficient in individuals with chronic pain conditions and it is a predictor for the development of chronic pain.

Massage is a common manual therapy intervention for individuals with musculoskeletal pain. Greater changes in pain sensitivity occur following pain inducing massage suggesting a mechanism dependent upon the efficiency of the conditioned pain modulation response. Previous research has indicated pain inducing massage is more effective than pain free massage suggesting a mechanism dependent upon conditioned pain modulation.

The study team will evaluate the association between pain inducing massage and the conditioned pain modulation paradigm. Participants with neck pain will be randomly assigned to receive a pain inducing massage, pain free massage, or a coldpressor task. Pre-and post intervention pain will be assessed. The study team will determine if analgesia induced by pain inducing massage is similar to the conditioned pain modulation paradigm and if baseline conditioned pain modulation predicts responders to pain inducing massage and short term clinical outcomes in patients with a history of neck pain.

Condition Musculoskeletal Pain, Neck Pain
Treatment Pain Inducing Massage, Coldpressor, Light Touch Massage
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03534739
SponsorUniversity of Florida
Last Modified on4 March 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

currently experiencing neck pain with or without arm pain
neck pain symptom intensity rated as 4/10 or higher during the last 24 hours
neck pain for greater than or equal to 3 months

Exclusion Criteria

non-English speaking
systemic medical conditions known to affect sensation (e.g. diabetes, hypertension)
history of neck surgery or fracture within the past 6 months
current history of chronic pain condition other than neck pain
diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy or cervical myelopathy
history of whiplash; g) currently using blood thinning medication
any blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia
any contraindication to application of ice, such as: uncontrolled hypertension, cold urticaria, cryoglobulinemia, paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria, and circulatory compromise
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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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