Background: Stretching exercises and massage therapy are both suggested for pain relief in fibromyalgia syndrome. Previous studies have not proved their superiority over each other. This study compared the therapeutic effects of friction massage, stretching exercises, and analgesics on pain relief in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome.Methods: We evaluated 129 female patients with the diagnosis of primary fibromyalgia visited at the physical medicine clinics of Baqiyatallah Hospital in Tehran, Iran during 2010- 2011. Patients were randomly divided into three groups: the first group received 400 mg ibuprofen P.O. (3 times per day) and 25 mg nortriptyline (daily) P.O. as analgesic, the second group was treated by friction massage and the third group performed stretching exercises. Patients were assessed three times (initially, after one and four weeks) by visual analogue scale (VAS).Results: The mean age of participants was 60.46 years. The mean age in each treatment group was 46.66 years in medication group, 46.73 years in stretching group and 46.65 years in friction massage group. Changes in VAS score over 4 weeks were 2.4, 3.1 and 1.9, in the first, second, and third groups, respectively. The changes in VAS were significantly different in the first and second groups rather than the controls (P<0.05).Conclusion: The effect of stretch exercise on pain relief was similar to analgesics, but it was more effective than friction massage. Moreover, the therapeutic effect of stretching exercise on pain relief upon four weeks was more permanent than friction massage but it was similar to analgesics.