The effect of deep cross friction massage on spasticity of children with cerebral palsy

The objective of this study was to find out the effect of deep cross-friction massage on spasticity in children with cerebral palsy. This double-blind randomised controlled trial was conducted at the National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, Islamabad, Pakistan, from January to July 2013, and comprised paediatric patients with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. The participants were equally divided into control and treatment groups by a staff member unaware of the treatment (allocation ratio 1:1). The control group received routine physiotherapy, while the experimental group was additionally given deep cross-friction massage for 30 minutes, 5 times a week lasting 6 weeks. The outcome was measured using Modified Ashworth Scale and functional level scale before the treatment and 6 weeks later. Baseline information and characteristics of the patients were also recorded. SPSS 20 was used for data analysis.

Of the 60 patients, there were 30(50%) in each group. The control group consisted of 14(46.7%) males and 16(53.3%) females compared to 16(53.3%) males and 14(46.7%) females in the experimental group (p=0.72). The overall mean age was 6.03±1.73 years. All patients (100%) were followed up for a period of 6 weeks and there was not a significant (p=0.26) improvement in experimental group compared to control group evident on Modified Ashworth Scale. The experimental group, however, had significant improvement after 6 weeks compared to the baseline values (p<0.001). However, functional level did not improve (p=0.55) by the end of study.

Deep cross-friction massage is an efficacious treatment option for the management of spasticity in children with cerebral palsy.