PainSci summary of Joseph 2012: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible.
This review of the “efficacy of deep friction massage (DFM) in the treatment of tendinopathy” concludes that there’s basically still no hard data, and “its isolated efficacy has not been established.” However, they offer a firm opinion that technique still makes some good sense despite the important “paradigm shift away from an active inflammatory model since the popularization of the DFM technique by Cyriax.”
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
STUDY DESIGN: Systematic literature review.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of deep friction massage (DFM) in the treatment of tendinopathy.
CONTEXT: Anecdotal evidence supports the efficacy of DFM for the treatment of tendinopathy. An advanced understanding of the etiopathogenesis of tendinopathy and the resultant paradigm shift away from an active inflammatory model has taken place since the popularization of the DFM technique by Cyriax for the treatment of "tendinitis." However, increasing mechanical load to the tendinopathic tissue, as well as reducing molecular cross-linking during the healing process via transverse massage, offers a plausible explanation for observed responses in light of the contemporary understanding of tendinopathy.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: The authors surveyed research articles in all languages by searching PubMed, Scopus, Pedro, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Library using the terms deep friction massage, deep tissue massage, deep transverse massage, Cyriax, soft tissue mobilization, soft tissue mobilisation, cross friction massage, and transverse friction massage. They included 4 randomized comparison trials, 3 at the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) and 1 supraspinatus outlet tendinopathy; 2 nonrandomized comparison trials, both receiving DFM at the ECRB; and 3 prospective noncomparison trials-supraspinatus, ECRB, and Achilles tendons. Articles meeting inclusion criteria were assessed based on PEDro and Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine rating scales.
RESULTS: Nine studies met the inclusion criteria.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: The heterogeneity of dependent measures did not allow for meta-analysis.
CONCLUSION: The varied locations, study designs, etiopathogenesis, and outcome tools used to examine the efficacy of DFM make a unified conclusion tenuous. There is some evidence of benefit at the elbow in combination with a Mills manipulation, as well as for supraspinatus tendinopathy in the presence of outlet impingement and along with joint mobilization. The examination of DFM as a single modality of treatment in comparison with other methods and control has not been undertaken, so its isolated efficacy has not been established. Excellent anecdotal evidence remains along with a rationale for its use that fits the current understanding of tendinopathy.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Relationships Between Sleep Quality and Pain-Related Factors for People with Chronic Low Back Pain: Tests of Reciprocal and Time of Day Effects. Gerhart 2017 Ann Behav Med.
- Modulation in the elastic properties of gastrocnemius muscle heads in individuals with plantar fasciitis and its relationship with pain. Zhou 2020 Sci Rep.
- Association Between Plantar Fasciitis and Isolated Gastrocnemius Tightness. Nakale 2018 Foot Ankle Int.
- No Added Benefit of Combining Dry Needling With Guideline-Based Physical Therapy When Managing Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Stieven 2020 J Orthop Sports Phys Ther.
- Effectiveness of customised foot orthoses for Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial. Munteanu 2015 Br J Sports Med.