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Effects of Gua Sha and Thermotherapy on Chronic Neck Pain

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
Universität Duisburg-Essen Identifier:
First received: November 2, 2010
Last updated: February 22, 2011
Last verified: February 2011

Gua Sha massage is a traditional chinese medical treatment. It is mostly used in the treatment of the common cold and pain syndromes. Gua Sha involves pressuring the skin by a round-edged instrument until small petechiae appear. This so called "sha", considered as the removal of blood stasis by traditional practitioners, will fade within a few days. Normally, this treatment is not considered as painful, but as relaxing and easing tense muscles.

In this study, the investigators will investigate the effectivity of Gua Sha massage in treating chronic neck pain. The investigators will research effects on subjective pain intensity, neck pain specific disability and haptic perception.

Condition Intervention
Neck Pain Other: Gua Sha Device: Thermotherapy

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Gua Sha Massage and Thermotherapy for Chronic Neck Pain: Effects on Pain Intensity, Haptic Perception and Body Image.

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Universität Duisburg-Essen:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Neck pain intensity (100mm visual analog scale) [ Time Frame: Day 4 ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Neck disability index (NDI) [ Time Frame: Day 4 ]

    The Neck Disability Index is an instrument to assess neck pain complaints.

    Reference: Vernon H, Mior S. The Neck Disability Index: a study of reliability and validity. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1991;14:409-415.

  • Haptic perception [ Time Frame: Day 4 ]

    The design consists of two angle legs, of which one angle leg has to be readjusted to a given angle adjustment. This is done by haptic perception without visual feedback. The deviation of the adjusted angle from the locked angle is measured.

    Reference: Grunwald, M., Ettich, C., Busse, F., Assmann, B., Dähne, A., Gertz, H.-J., (2002): Angle paradigm: A new method to measure right parietal dysfunctions in anorexia nervosa. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology , 17, pp. 485- 496

Enrollment: 50
Study Start Date: September 2010
Study Completion Date: February 2011
Primary Completion Date: February 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: Gua Sha
Single Gua Sha treatment of the neck and shoulder region.
Other: Gua Sha
Single Gua Sha treatment of the neck and shoulder region
Active Comparator: Thermotherapy
Single use of a mud heat pad on the neck and shoulder region.
Device: Thermotherapy
Single use of a mud heat pad on the neck and shoulder region


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 75 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Chronic mechanical neck pain, at least 40 mm on a 100mm visual analog scale.
  • Pain for at least 3 months.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • radicular symptoms
  • congenital spine deformity
  • pregnancy
  • rheumatic diseases
  • oncologic diseases
  • other severe psychiatric or somatic comorbidity
  • recent invasive or surgical treatment of the spine
  • participation in other studies
  • skin diseases in the area to be treated
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01233180

Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Knappschafts-Krankenhaus, Department for Internal and Integrative Medicine
Essen, Northrhine-Westphalia, Germany, 45276
Sponsors and Collaborators
Universität Duisburg-Essen
  More Information

Responsible Party: Gustav J Dobos, MD, University of Duisburg-Essen, Chair of Complementary and Integrative Medicine Identifier: NCT01233180     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 10-4434
Study First Received: November 2, 2010
Last Updated: February 22, 2011

Keywords provided by Universität Duisburg-Essen:
neck pain
hyperthermia, induced
touch perception
randomized controlled trial

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Neck Pain
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Signs and Symptoms processed this record on August 18, 2017