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Effectiveness of ischemic compression on myofascial trigger points in relieving neck pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis

J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2023 Feb 23. doi: 10.3233/BMR-220045. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Ischemic compression is widely used to clinically treat neck pain. However, no meta-analysis has been conducted to evaluate the effects of this process on neck pain.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate the effects of ischemic compression on the myofascial trigger points for improving neck pain-related symptoms (mainly pain, joint mobility limitation and function limitation) and to compare ischemic compression with other therapies.

METHODS: Electronic searches were conducted in PubMed, OVID, Web of Science, EBSCO, SCOUPS, Cochrane Library, PEDro, Wanfang, CNKI and Chinese VIP Database in June 2021. Only randomised controlled trials on the effects of ischemic compression on neck pain were included. The major outcomes were pain intensity, pressure pain threshold, pain-related disability and range of motion.

RESULTS: Fifteen studies involving 725 participants were included. Significant differences were observed between ischemic compression and sham/no treatment group in pain intensity, pressure pain threshold and range of motion immediately and in the short term. Significant effect sizes of dry needling were observed over ischemic compression in terms of improving pain intensity (SMD = 0.62; 95% CI: 0.08 to 1.16; P= 0.02), pain-related disability (SMD = 0.68; 95% CI: 0.19 to 1.17; P= 0.007) and range of motion (MD =-2.12; 95% CI: -2.59 to -1.65; P< 0.001) immediately after treatment. Dry needling also showed a significant small effect size for the short-term reduction of pain (SMD = 0.44; 95% CI: 0.04 to 0.85; P= 0.03).

CONCLUSION: Ischemic compression can be recommended in the immediate and short-term pain relief and increase in the pressure pain threshold and range of motion. Dry needling is superior to ischemic compression in relieving pain and improving pain-related disability and range of motion immediately after treatment.

PMID:36872769 | DOI:10.3233/BMR-220045


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