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Effective Treatment for Troublesome Trigger Points

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Study confirms ischemic compression delivered through self care device is effective treatment for troublesome trigger points.

Gilbertsville, PA, 3/21/2014 –Long before modern medical practitioners opted for more complicated and invasive clinical protocols for muscle pain and tension, there was the simple personal act of rubbing and pressing, to reduce the tightness, ache or soreness in a muscle.

Several research studies have demonstrated that ischemic compression (which is the prolonged application of precise, steady pressure to a muscle knot thereby starving the area of oxygen and causing a release of the contracted muscle tissue) is an effective clinical treatment protocol for pain due to Myofascial Trigger Points (MTrPs); but there have been few studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of a home use self care device to render the same type of pressure outside of the clinical setting.

Dawn Gulick, PhD, PT, ATC, CSCS, Professor, Widener University, Institute of Physical Therapy, Chester, PA, et al, recently conducted a research study to examine the effectiveness of ischemic pressure using a Backnobber II® device on discomfort associated with Myofascial Trigger Points. She identified 28 patients with two MTrPs in the upper back and measured their sensitivity 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. Says Gulick, “Anecdotal reports have supported the efficiency of the use of ischemic compression tools in the treatment of MTrPs. However, randomized controlled studies are lacking.  In addition, there are no standardization protocols regarding the appropriate amount of pressure, the duration of the compression, or the frequency of treatments.  This study was intended to be the first in a series to develop a clinical protocol for use of an ischemic compression tool in the treatment of MTrPs.  The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a home program of ischemic compression using the Backnobber II® device”.

The results of the study showed that here was a significant difference between the pre- and post-test sensitivities of the treated and non-treated MTrPs (p =0.04) and confirm that the protocol of six repetitions of a 30-second ischemic compression with the Backnobber II® rendered every other day for a week was effective in reducing MTrP irritability.  The research abstract and related article is available on the Journal of Bodywork and Massage Therapy website: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/623047/description#description.

Says Renee Gladieux Principe, NCTMB, of The Pressure Positive Company, “Informed self care is the best foundation for understanding and successfully managing muscle discomfort. This study reinforces the current evidence based knowledge that manual practitioners have already successfully integrated into their pain management practices and gives hope to their patients who want and need effective strategies for at home self care.” For more information on self care for Trigger Points visit http://pressurepositive.com/information-center/articles/Self-Care-in-Trigger-Point-Therapy.aspx.

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