February 2016

Myofascial Triggerpoint Release (MTR) for Treating Chronic Shoulder Pain: A New Approach

Authors: C.-M. Gordon, F. Andrasik, R. Schleip, N. Birbaumer, M. Rea

Affiliations: Center für Integrative Therapie, Stuttgart, Germany

Journal: Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies - July 2016, Volume 20, Issue 3, Pages 614-622 (DOI: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.01.009)

This study comprehensively evaluated a myofascial triggerpoint release (MTR) technique for shoulder pain.

Twenty-three (from an initial sample of 25) patients experiencing shoulder pain received MTR, in four 10-min sessions over a period of 2 weeks, applied exclusively on the more painful shoulder, with assessments being recorded both before and after treatment (and for pain at 1 and 13 months). Measures of stiffness and elasticity were collected to monitor the process of therapy, while subjective measures of pain and objective measures of pressure pain thresholds tracked primary outcomes. Secondary outcomes focused on suffering, stress, and quality of life.

A statistically significant decrease in stiffness and increase in elasticity was observed post intervention for the treated side only, while pressure pain thresholds improved on the untreated side as well. Reports of pain significantly decreased after treatment, with gains being maintained at 1 and 13 months following treatment. Levels of suffering, stress, and quality of life revealed statistically significant improvement as well.

MTR resulted in clinically significant improvements in the primary measures of pain, objective mechanical tissue properties, and secondary measures in patients with chronic shoulder pain.