Yes it can!!! There is evidence to say that massage can reduce pain in the short term of an acute injury.
So why isn’t it funded by the NHS and why isn’t everyone getting massages?
Well it’s unlikely a massage has any causal effect that will remedy your injury.
But you said it was effective??!!
I said it was effective, not efficacious. The difference is that insulin can be proven to be efficacious as it is provable to observe a direct cause of insulin changing glucose into glycogen in the blood. That is to say we have a causal link from the drug to an effect. In the case of massage we have a correlation of less pain in the short term compared to no treatment.
But this is effective! I mean it works, it’s observed and is empirically demonstrated!
We must widen our scope to other interventions and their effects, acupuncture, laser therapy, craniotherapy are all effective for relieving pain and can be extremely convincing for those that have experienced them.
The case of laser therapy is a good one as we can “sham” the effect. This means we have a control study with an arbitrary wavelength of light and compare it to a group of people exposed to the supposed “efficacious” wavelength of light.
The patients and experimenters are blinded (not literally) and we see no significant effects between both groups although both groups have a similar pain relieving effect.
So your saying I shouldn’t get a massage?
Why not get a massage! indeed why not get any treatment I’ve described above, it is likely you will lessen the pain in the short term and considering in most acute injuries they are self limiting and will remedy in a couple of weeks you can save yourself some pain.
I suggest you think of the cost, is it worth £35 for a 30 minute sports massage to relieve the symptoms of pain until your body can remedy itself, this is a choice for the individual.