Massage are used primarily to treat musculoskeletal pain. Their benefit is well known in a number of musculoskeletal pain disorders, although there are significant differences among therapists as to how treatment is delivered.
No significant difference in pain intensity reduction post SCI was seen among those that received massage compared to guided imagery (Lovas et al. 2017) or acupuncture (Norrbrink & Lundeberg 2011). In a crossover RCT, Chase et al. (2013) found that patients that received light touch and then massage were more likely report reduction in pain intensity than those that received massage and then light touch. The study did not examine the effectiveness of either treatment compared to the alternative; hence, it is difficult to examine if one treatment itself is more effective than the other.
There is level 2 evidence that massage therapy is equally as effective as guided imagery and acupuncture in reducing pain intensity post SCI.