Effect of Ischemic Compression on Trigger Points in the Neck and Shoulder Muscles in Office Workers: A Cohort Study

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Abstract

Objective:

The purpose of this study was to determine the short-term effect of ischemic compression (IC) for trigger points (TPs) on muscle strength, mobility, pain sensitivity, and disability in office workers and the effect on disability and general pain at 6-month follow-up.

Methods:

Nineteen office workers with mild neck and shoulder complaints received 8 sessions of IC in which deep pressure was given on the 4 most painful TPs identified during examination. Outcome measures were general neck and shoulder complaints on a Numeric Rating Scale, Neck Disability Index (NDI), neck mobility (inclinometer), muscle strength (dynamometer), and pain sensitivity (Numeric Rating Scale and algometry). Subjects were tested at baseline (precontrol), after a control period of no treatment of 4 weeks (postcontrol), and after a 4-week intervention training (posttreatment). At 6-month follow-up, pain and disability were inquired.

Results:

The results showed a statistically significant decrease in general neck/shoulder pain at posttreatment (P = .001) and at 6-month follow-up (P = .003) compared with precontrol and postcontrol. There was no significant main effect for NDI scores. Pressure pain threshold increased at posttreatment in all 4 treated TPs (P < .001). There was a significant increase in mobility and strength from precontrol/postcontrol to posttreatment (P < .05).

Conclusion:

This study has demonstrated that a 4-week treatment of TPs for IC resulted in a significant improvement in general neck and shoulder complaints, pressure pain sensitivity, mobility, and muscle strength in the short term in a small sample of office workers with mildly severe chronic pain. At 6-month follow-up, there was a further decrease in general pain, but no change in NDI scores.

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