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Effect of ischemic pressure using a Backnobber II device on discomfort associated with myofascial trigger points

PainSci » bibliography » Gulick et al 2011
Tags: treatment, self-treatment, devices, massage, muscle pain, manual therapy, muscle, pain problems

Three articles on PainSci cite Gulick 2011: 1. The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain2. Trigger Point Doubts3. Trigger Points on Trial

PainSci commentary on Gulick 2011: ?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.

This experiment has the simple elegance of a good science-fair project. Dr. Dawn Gulick of the Widener University Physical Therapy Department simply compared the sensitivity of trigger points both with and without a simple treatment of pressure — squishing them, that is.

Dr. Gulick et al. tested a specific method of squishing: pressing a trigger point firmly and long enough to starve it of some oxygen (ischemic pressure), repeatedly, for several days. They measured trigger point sensitivity before and after treatment in 28 people with two trigger points in the upper back. Their conclusion: “There was a significant difference between the pre- and post-test sensitivities of the treated and non-treated trigger points … ischemic compression … was effective in reducing trigger point irritability.”

Excellent! This is small-scale science, but the results are encouraging and certainly consistent with my professional experience.

~ 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 purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of ischemic pressure on myofascial trigger point (MTrP) sensitivity.

DESIGN: Randomized, controlled study with the researcher assessing MTrP sensitivity blinded to the intervention.

PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-eight people with two MTrPs in the upper back musculature.

INTERVENTION: The sensitivity of two MTrPs in the upper back was assessed with a JTECH algometer. One of the two MTrPs was randomly selected for treatment with a Backnobber II, while the other served as a control.Outcome measures: Pre- and post-test pressure–pain thresholds of the MTrPs.

RESULTS: There was a significant difference between the pre- and post-test sensitivities of the treated and non-treated MTrPs (p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study confirm that the protocol of six repetitions of 30-s ischemic compression with the Backnobber II rendered every other day for a week was effective in reducing MTrP irritability.

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