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Evaluation of myofascial trigger points using infrared thermography: a critical review of the literature

PainSci » bibliography » Dibai-Filho et al 2015
Tags: muscle pain, etiology, muscle, pain problems, pro

Two articles on PainSci cite Dibai-Filho 2015: 1. The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain2. The Trigger Point Identity Crisis

PainSci commentary on Dibai-Filho 2015: ?This page is one of thousands in the 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 wherever possible.

Do trigger points cause hot spots on the skin overlying them? It’s unclear: this is a review of only a handful of studies of the use of infrared thermography to identify trigger points. Of 11 studies found, only four were suitable for review, and they had mixed results: “Of the few studies present, there is no agreement on skin temperature patterns in the presence of MTrPs.”

The reviewer concurrently published their own trial of thermography, with positive results (see Dibai-Filho).

~ Paul Ingraham

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.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to review recent studies published on the use of infrared thermography for the assessment of myofascial trigger points (MTrPs).

METHODS: A search of the MEDLINE, CINAHL, PEDro, and SciELO databases was carried out between November 2012 and January 2013 for articles published in English, Portuguese, or Spanish from the year 2000 to 2012. Because of the nature of the included studies and the purpose of this review, the analysis of methodological quality was assessed using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies tool.

RESULTS: The search retrieved 11 articles, 2 of which were excluded based on language (German and Chinese). Three were duplicated in different databases, 1 did not use infrared thermography for diagnostic purposes, and the other did not use infrared thermography to measure the skin temperature. Thus, the final sample was made up of 4 observational investigations: 3 comparative studies and 1 accuracy study.

CONCLUSION: At present, there are few studies evaluating the accuracy and reliability of infrared thermography for the diagnosis and assessment of MTrPs. Of the few studies present, there is no agreement on skin temperature patterns in the presence of MTrPs.

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