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Title: Myofascial release as a treatment choice for neuromuscular conditions : three randomized controlled trials and a systemic literature review
Author: Mohammed Sharafudeen, Ajimsha
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 2476
Awarding Body: University of Bolton in association with New York College Athens
Current Institution: University of Bolton
Date of Award: 2018
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available