Myofascial release as a treatment choice for neuromuscular conditions : three randomized controlled trials and a systemic literature review

Mohammed Sharafudeen, Ajimsha (2018) Myofascial release as a treatment choice for neuromuscular conditions : three randomized controlled trials and a systemic literature review. PhD thesis, University of Bolton in association with New York College Athens.

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Abstract

Introduction: Myofascial release (MFR) is a form of manual therapy that involves the application of a low load, long duration stretch to the myofascial complex, intended to restore optimal length, decrease pain, and improve function. MFR is being used to treat patients with a wide variety of conditions, but there is a scarcity of evidence to support its efficacy. Studies are emerging in this field with varying results and conclusions. Analysis of the recent research trials and reviews will be a better way to appraise the quality and reliability of such works. Objective: This work attempts to analyse and summarise the evidence from three randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and one systematic review of the effectiveness of MFR on various neuromuscular conditions and pain. Methodology: Effectiveness of MFR on tension type headache, lateral epicondylitis and chronic low back pain were the RCTs identified for the analysis. The systematic review selected analysed the published RCTs on MFR till 2014. The methodological qualities of the studies were assessed using the PEDro, Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine's (CEBM) Level of Evidence Scale, Risk of Bias (RoB) Analysis Tool and AMSTAR 2. Results: The RCTs analysed in this study were of moderate to high methodological quality (PEDro scale), with higher level of evidence (CEBM scale) and less bias (RoB). The effectiveness of MFR on tension type headache (TTH) was the first among the studies with a moderate methodological quality (6/10 in PEDro), with a 2b level of evidence on the CEBM scale. The study proved that direct technique or indirect technique MFR was more effective than the control intervention for TTH. The second RCT studied MFR for lateral epicondylitis (LE). The study was of a moderately high quality on the PEDro scale (7/10) with a 1b- level in CEBM. The MFR was found more effective than a control intervention for LE in computer professionals. The RCT on chronic low back pain (CLBP) also scored 7/10 in the PEDro scale and 1b in the CEBM scale. This study confirmed that MFR is a useful adjunct to specific back exercises and more helpful than a control intervention for CLBP. All three RCTs stated the usage of self-report measures and underpowered sample size as the major limitations along with a performance bias reported in the TTH trial. The systematic review demonstrated moderate methodological quality as per the AMSTAR 2 tool which analysed 19 RCTs for a result. The literature regarding the effectiveness of MFR was mixed in both quality and results. Omission of a risk of bias analysis was the major limitation of this review. The authors quoted that “MFR may be useful as either a unique therapy or as an adjunct therapy to other established therapies for a variety of conditions”. Conclusion: Critical appraisal is an important element of evidence-based medicine to carefully and systematically examine research to judge its trustworthiness, its value and relevance in a particular context. This review concludes that the three RCTs and the systematic review analysed were completed with moderate to good quality as per various quality measures, but with reported methodological flaws and interpretation biases. These studies with the critical appraisal can act as ‘pavements’ on which high quality future MFR trials and evidence can be built on.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: This is an electronic amended version of the thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Bolton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy on the basis of published work. Appendices 10.1 - 10.6 are not available in this version due to copyright issues.
Uncontrolled Keywords: myofascial release, myofascial release therapy
Divisions: University of Bolton Theses > Biomedical and Medical Engineering
Depositing User: Tracey Gill
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2018 10:14
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2019 09:24
URI: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/id/eprint/1812

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