Exploring the Clinical Response of Childhood Functional Gastro-Intestinal Disorder Symptoms to Deep Tissue Massage of Psoas Muscles: Results of Two-Year Clinical Audit with Telephone Follow-Up
Background & Purpose: There is a high incidence of chronic recurrent functional abdominal pain in children causing significant disruption to schooling, quality of life, and costs to the health care system. Treatment routinely includes behavioral, pharmacological, and invasive surgical interventions, with varying levels of impact. This study aims to examine the response of symptoms of functional gastro-intestinal disorders (FGID) in children to treatment of psoas muscle tension and tenderness using remedial massage therapy.
Setting & Participants: Pediatric surgeon’s rooms, remedial massage therapist rooms, consenting children aged 2–18.
Research Design: Two years of clinical observations were analyzed including patient-reported symptoms, surgeon and remedial massage therapist observations, with 122 children suffering from moderate to severe FGID symptoms. Over the two year observation period, 96 children with FGID symptoms completed a course of remedial massage therapy to their psoas muscles.
Results: Improvement in psoas tension and tenderness on palpation was observed for all participants after an average of 5 treatments (range 2–12). Complete resolution of all symptoms of abdominal pain, reflux, vomiting, nausea, and bowel upset was seen in 88/96 (92%) participants at the time of treatment completion without side effects. Over the observation period, 72 children were followed up after completing remedial massage therapy; 75% reported they remained symptom free, 18% continued to have marked improvement and 7% mild improvement.
Conclusion: Despite study design limitations, more research is warranted on the potential for this low-cost, noninvasive therapeutic intervention to assist symptom management for children with FGID.
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