Adverse Events in Massage Therapy: Collected Case Reports

In the May/June 2020 issue of Massage & Bodywork, Ruth Werner writes about endangerment sites and the risk of adverse events in massage therapy.

Here is a continued resource list of additional case reports detailing adverse effects in massage therapy.

  1. Abilash, Kak et al. “Fracture-Dislocation at C6–C7 Level with Quadriplegia After Traditional Massage in a Patient with Ankylosing Spondylitis: A Case Report.” Malaysian Orthopaedic Journal 11, no. 2 (June 2017): 75–7. https://doi.org/10.5704/MOJ.1707.013. 
  2. Aksoy, Ibrahim A. et al. “Spinal Accessory Neuropathy Associated with Deep Tissue Massage: A Case Report.” Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 90, no. 11 (November 2009): 1969–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2009.06.015. 
  3. Behera, Chittaranjan et al. “Leg Massage by Mother Resulting in Fatal Pulmonary Thromboembolism.” Medico-Legal Journal 86, no. 3 (April 2017): 146–50. https://doi.org/10.1177/0025817217706645. 
  4. Chang, Chih-Ya et al. “Massage-Induced Brachial Plexus Injury.” Physical Therapy 95, no. 1 (January 2015): 109–16. https://doi.org/10.2522/ptj.20130487. 
  5. Chen, Hsin-Ling, Chin-Chu Wu, and Aming C.-M. Lin. “Small Bowel Intramural Hematoma Secondary to Abdominal Massage.” American Journal of Emergency Medicine 31, no. 4 (April 2013): 758.e3–758.e4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2012.11.020. 
  6. Cheong, Hyun S. et al. “Spinal Cord Injury Incurred by Neck Massage.” Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine 36, no. 5 (October 2012): 708–12. https://doi.org/10.5535/arm.2012.36.5.708. 
  7. Cho, Ju Y. et al. “Isolated Injury to the Tibial Division of Sciatic Nerve After Self-Massage of the Gluteal Muscle with Massage Ball.” Medicine 98, no. 19 (May 2019): 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000015488. 
  8. Dutta, Guatam et al. “‘Crick’ in Neck Followed by Massage Led to Stroke: Uncommon Case of Vertebral Artery Dissection.” World Neurosurgery 115 (July 2018):41–3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2018.04.008. 
  9. Grant, Arthur C. and Norman Wang. “Carotid Dissection Associated with a Handheld Electric Massager.” Southern Medical Journal 97, no. 12 (December 2004): 1262–63. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.SMJ.0000145391.86504.CC. 
  10. Grant, Keith E. “Massage Safety: Injuries Reported in Medline Relating to the Practice of Therapeutic Massage—1965–2003.” Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 7, no. 4 (October 2003): 207–12. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1360-8592(03)00043-3. 
  11. Guo, Zhiping et al. “Isolated Unilateral Vertebral Pedicle Fracture Caused by a Back Massage in an Elderly Patient: A Case Report and Literature Review.” European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology 23, suppl. 2 (June 2012): 149–53. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00590-012-1031-y. 
  12. Hsu, Po-Cheng et al. “Acute Radial Neuropathy at the Spiral Groove Following Massage: A Case Presentation.” PM&R 9, no. 10 (October 2017): 1042–46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmrj.2017.03.010. 
  13. Jabr, Fadi I. “Massive Pulmonary Emboli After Legs Massage.” American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 86, no. 8 (August 2007): 691. https://doi.org/10.1097/PHM.0b013e31811e2a7a. 
  14. Jeon, Chang-Hoon et al. “Case Report: Electrical Automated Massage Chair Use Can Induce Osteoporotic Vertebral Compression Fracture.” Osteoporosis International 30, no. 7 (April 2019): 1533–36. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-019-04961-4. 
  15. Kaur, Jaslovleen et al. “Frequent Neck Massage Leading to Bilateral Anterior Cerebral Artery Infarction.” BMJ Case Reports 2017. https://doi.org/10.1136/bcr-2017-222169. 
  16. Lee, Tzu-Han, Jan-Wei Chiu, and Rai-Chi Chan. “Cervical Cord Injury After Massage.” American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 90, no. 10 (October 2011): 856–59. https://doi.org/10.1097/PHM.0b013e318228c27c. 
  17. Lim, Danny C. G. et al. “Massaging the Outcome: An Unusual Presentation of Pulmonary Embolism.” BMJ Case Reports 2009. https://doi.org/10.1136/bcr.01.2009.1505. 
  18. Liu, J. S., T. C. Tsai, and Y. Y. Chang. “Extracranial Internal Carotid Artery Dissection Secondary to Neck Massage: Visualization of Mural Hematoma by MRI.”  Kaohsiung Journal of Medical Sciences 9, no. 5 (May 1993): 322–27. 
  19. Mikhail, A. et al. “Renal Artery Embolization After Back Massage in a Patient with Aortic Occlusion.” Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation 12, no. 4 (April 1997): 797–98. https://doi.org/10.1093/ndt/12.4.797. 
  20. Mufarrij, Afif J. and Eveline Hitti. “Acute Cystic Rupture and Hemorrhagic Shock After a Vigorous Massage Chair Session in a Patient with Polycystic Kidney Disease.” American Journal of the Medical Sciences 342, no. 1 (July 2011): 76–8. https://doi.org/10.1097/MAJ.0b013e31821a50c5. 
  21. Posadzki, Paul and Edzard Ernst. “The Safety of Massage Therapy: An Update of a Systematic Review.” Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies 18, no. 1 (March 2013): 27–32. https://doi.org/10.1111/fct.12007. 
  22. Rahman, Muhammad. N., G. L. McAll, and Kok-Soon Chai. “Massage-Related Perforation of the Sigmoid Colon in Kelantan.” Medical Journal of Malaysia 42, no. 1 (March 1987): 56–7. 
  23.  Ryu, Je I. et al. “Cervical Epidural Hematoma that Induced Sudden Paraparesis After Cervical Spine Massage: Case Report and Literature Review.” World Neurosurgery 112 (April 2018): 217–20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2018.01.178. 
  24. Tak, Sandeep, Shubhanjali Tak, and Alok Gupta. “Peripheral Embolisation After an Abdominal Massage.” BMJ Case Reports 2014. https://doi.org/10.1136/bcr-2013-200827. 
  25. Trotter, James F. “Hepatic Hematoma After Deep Tissue Massage.” New England Journal of Medicine 341, no. 26 (December 1999): 2019–20. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJM199912233412616. 
  26. Vanichkulbodee, Alissara, Suwara Issaragrisil, and Pholaphat C. Inboriboon. “Massage-Induced Spinal Epidural Hematoma Presenting with Delayed Paraplegia.” American Journal of Emergency Medicine 37, no. 4 (April 2019): 797.e1–797.e4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2019.01.017. 
  27. Wu, Ya-Ying, Wei-Chih Hsu, and Han-Cheng Wang. “Posterior Interosseous Nerve Palsy as a Complication of Friction Massage in Tennis Elbow.” American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 89, no. 8 (August 2010): 668–71. https://doi.org/10.1097/PHM.0b013e3181c567af. 
  28. Yang, Si-Dong, Qiam Chen, and Wen-Yuan Ding. “Cauda Equina Syndrome Due to Vigorous Back Massage with Spinal Manipulation in a Patient with Pre-Existing Lumbar Disc Herniation: A Case Report and Literature Review.” American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 97, no. 4 (April 2018): e23–e26. https://doi.org/10.1097/PHM.0000000000000809. 
  29. Yin, Pin et al. “Adverse Events of Massage Therapy in Pain-Related Conditions: A Systematic Review.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/480956. 
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