Massage Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Pain and Opioid Use in Military Personnel and Families

Posted:Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sheila Cannon
Fayetteville State University

Fayetteville, North Carolina (NC) ranks the 15th highest in the nation for opioid addiction; 18th when you include heroin. . Our Collaborative Institute for Interprofessional Education & Practice (CI-PEP) is already providing massage services to military personnel, veterans, and families. Under our current infrastructure, we have measured pain levels before and after services; however, we have not exclusively targeted the chronic pain and opioid use population, nor have we researched to explore chronic pain and opioid use against therapeutic massage.

In our CI-PEP, therapeutic massage was the inroad to most soldiers and their families seeking other holistic services offered for free. The aim of the study is to test the effectiveness of massage treatments for chronic pain and opioid use. The holistic model proposed here focuses on the integration of therapeutic massage services to clients who endorse chronic pain and concurrent or prior opioid use for pain management. The focus of massage will be to relieve pain, reduce muscle tension, reduce the frequency of narcotic use, and reduce the number of visits to the doctor’s office. Twenty-five military affiliated participants who endorse pain and opioid use for at least six months to 12 months, ages 18 years and over, will be enrolled in the military massage therapy opioid patient services (MM-TOPS) program and receive free massages, counseling, and other complementary and alternative services. We limit our MM-TOPS enrollment to 25 participants to ensure the quality and rigor of the research and ensure the trustworthiness of data collected.