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Feature Article 2

Myofascial trigger points (MTrP) are a well known source of musculoskeletal pain.  A variety of modalities have been purported to address the signs and symptoms of MTrPs.  Heat, cryotherapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, ischemic pressure, kinesiotaping, and dry needling are several of the interventions studied.  However, two recent additions to the literature examined the influence of instrument-assisted soft tissue techniques (IASTT) on MTrPs:  phase 1 (http://goeata.org/protected/EATACD14/downloads/PDF/abstract_Gulick.pdf) and phase 2 (Gulick, 2014, epub Body Works and Movement Therapy, http://www.bodyworkmovementtherapies.com/article/S1360-8592%2814%2900011-4/abstract).  IASTTs use stainless instruments to impart a variety of forces to the soft tissue.  Despite there being limited peer-reviewed literature on IASTT, some strokes have been recommended to decrease muscle tension, increase tissue circulation, and align collagen fibers.  Direct treatment of a MTrP may only last 1-2 minutes with 4-5 minutes of treatment to the adjacent area.  Use of the instruments to stroke, fan, and/or swivel the tissue was found to produce a statistically significant difference over a 3-week period of time (2x/week).  Although further investigation into optimal strokes, duration, and frequency of treatment is needed, it is promising to identify an efficacious mode of treatment for such a prevalent musculoskeletal condition.

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