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The effect of vibration therapy on neck myofascial trigger points: A randomized controlled pilot study

      Highlights

      • Mechanical vibration could be used as a self-applied method to reduce neck pain.
      • Self-applied mechanical vibration increases sensitivity at cervical muscles.
      • Self-applied mechanical vibration reduces neck pain and disability.
      • Improvements in sensitivity increase as more vibration sessions are received.
      • Improvements in neck pain and disability increase as more vibration sessions are received.

      Abstract

      Background

      The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of low-frequency self-administered vibration therapy into myofascial trigger points in the upper trapezius and levator scapulae on patients with chronic non-specific neck pain.

      Methods

      Twenty-eight patients with chronic non-specific neck pain were randomly assigned into a vibration group, receiving 10 self-applied sessions of vibration therapy in the upper trapezius and levator scapulae trigger points; or a control group, receiving no intervention. Self-reported neck pain and disability (Neck Disability Index) and pressure pain threshold were assessed at baseline and after the first, fifth and 10th treatment sessions.

      Findings

      Significant differences were found in the vibration group when compared to the control group after the treatment period: the vibration group reached lower Neck Disability Index scores (F = 4.74, P = .033, η2 = 0.07) and greater pressure pain threshold values (F = 7.56, P = .01, η2 = 0.10) than the control group. The vibration group reported a significant reduction in Neck Disability Index scores (χ2 = 19,35, P = .00, Kendall's W = 0.28) and an increase in pressure pain threshold (χ2 = 87,10, P = .00, Kendall's W = 0.73) between the assessment times over the course of the treatment. The mean increase in pressure pain threshold in the vibration group after the 10 sessions was 8.54 N/cm2, while the mean reduction in Neck Disability Index scores was 4.53 points.

      Interpretation

      Vibration therapy may be an effective intervention for reducing self-reported neck pain and disability and pressure pain sensitivity in patients with chronic non-specific neck pain. This tool could be recommended for people with non-specific neck pain.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      MTrPs (Myofascial trigger points), VT (Vibration therapy), DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness), PPT (Pressure pain threshold), CG (Control group), NDI (Neck Disability Index), VG (Vibration therapy group)
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