Here at ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, we understand that when it comes to deciding the best course of action for your musculoskeletal injury or condition, there are many options available. However, based on our own experience within the clinic and the evidence found in research studies, we firmly believe that physical and occupational therapy is the best possible choice you can make. To help you better understand the advantages of the treatments we provide, our physical and occupational therapists bring you examples of some of the most recent studies that highlight the many benefits of our services.
This month, we break down a recent study that evaluates a number of different treatment methods for a condition called myofascial pain syndrome.
Physical therapy often used to address painful condition
Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a common and chronic (long-lasting) pain disorder. It occurs when pressure on sensitive spots in the muscles called trigger points causes pain in different areas of the body. MPS can occur for many reasons and may be aggravated by performing certain motions on a repetitive basis or develop for unknown reasons, and it usually tends to get worse over time.
There are several treatments commonly used to manage patients with MPS, and many are offered in a physical therapy program. Some of these include massage, ultrasound, heat therapy, stretching exercises and strengthening exercises, but unfortunately, it’s not clear how effective many of these treatments are. This is due to the fact that there are only a limited number of studies on the topic, and these few studies suffer from certain flaws, which reduces the validity of their findings. For this reason, a powerful study called a systematic review was conducted to answer the following question: does exercise reduce the intensity of pain and disability in individuals with MPS.
To conduct the review, investigators searched through six major medical databases and found eight studies that fit all the necessary criteria for the review. These studies, which included information on 255 participants ranging in age from 21-56 were then evaluated in detail and their findings were compared to one another. The goal of this process was to identify a common trend and establish a clearer understanding of the role of exercise for treating MPS.
Overall, the studies supported exercise as a beneficial treatment for MPS. Exercise was found to significantly reduce the intensity of pain in the short term when compared with minimal or no intervention. In addition, the researchers particularly recommended combining strengthening exercises with stretching exercises in order to achieve the most significant improvements for patients.
Our Springfield physical therapists and occupational therapists prescribe these exercises in all treatment programs
At ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, strengthening and stretching exercises are an integral component of every treatment program we create for patients. This study serves as yet another example of the wide-ranging benefits of these fundamental physical therapy protocols, and offers further support for the treatment decisions our Springfield physical therapists make. If you’re dealing with pain throughout the body or a recent injury, come in to see us as soon as possible for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment program. Contact us at 973-379-7006 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
To read the summary (abstract) of this featured study, click here.