Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: To compare the effectiveness of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) and extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) used in myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) and to determine whether they are superior to conservative treatment (CT). Materials and methods: A total of 42 female patients (aged 18-60 years) diagnosed with MPS were enrolled and randomly assigned to either the CT (n = 14), CT+IASTM (n = 14), or CT+ESWT group (n = 14). All of the groups received treatment for 3 weeks (CT: 5 sessions per week, 15 sessions in total, ESWT and IASTM: 2 sessions per week, 6 sessions in total). Neck stretching exercises were given to all of the patients as a home program. The pain intensity of the patients was determined using the visual analog scale (VAS). The pressure pain threshold (PPT) was measured with an algometer. Cervical joint range of motion (ROM) was measured with a cervical ROM (CROM) device. Pain, cervical disability, quality of life, and sleep disturbances were evaluated with the Neck Outcome Score (NOOS). Depression and anxiety parameters were evaluated with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Evaluations were made before treatment and 3 days after the last treatment session. Results: The CT+IASTM group was more successful than the other groups in terms of pain intensity, PPT, and improvements in the ROM parameters (p < 0.05). No significant difference was found between the NOOS and HADS scores of the groups when the posttreatment changes were compared to pretreatment (p > 0.05). Conclusions: All 3 of these treatments can be used to alleviate the negative effects of MPS. IASTM treatment can be preferred primarily in the creation of combined treatment programs for patients with ROM limitations and low PPTs.


Myofascial pain syndrome, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, pain, range of motion, pressure pain threshold

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