Bone and Joint Institute

Title

The Effectiveness of Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization in Athletes, Participants Without Extremity or Spinal Conditions, and Individuals with Upper Extremity, Lower Extremity, and Spinal Conditions: A Systematic Review

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2019

Journal

ARCHIVES OF PHYSICAL MEDICINE AND REHABILITATION

Issue

9

URL with Digital Object Identifier

10.1016/j.apmr.2019.01.017

Abstract

Abstract

Objective

To assess the effectiveness of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) to other treatments or placebo in athletes or participants without extremity or spinal conditions and individuals with upper extremity, lower extremity, and spinal conditions.

Data Sources

The MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PEDro electronic databases were searched from January 1998 to March 2018.

Study Selection

Randomized controlled trials of participants without extremity or spinal conditions or athletes and people with upper extremity, lower extremity, or spinal conditions, who revived IASTM vs other active treatment, placebo, or control (no treatment), to improve outcome (function, pain, range of motion).

Data Extraction

Two independent review authors extracted data, assessed the trials for risk of bias using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool in included studies, and performed the rating of quality of individual trials per outcome across trials was also performed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluations guidelines.

Data Synthesis

Nine trials with 43 reported outcomes (function, pain, range of motion, grip strength), compared the addition of IASTM over other treatments vs other treatments. Six trials with 36 outcomes reported no clinically important differences in outcomes between the 2 groups. Two trials with 2 outcomes displayed clinically important differences favoring the other treatment (without IASTM) group. Six trials with 15 reported outcomes (pressure sensitivity, pain, range of motion, muscle performance), compared IASTM vs control (no treatment). Three trials with 5 outcomes reported no clinically important differences in outcomes between the 2 groups. Furthermore, in 1 trial with 5 outcomes, IASTM demonstrated small effects (standard mean difference range 0.03-0.24) in terms of improvement muscle performance in physically active individuals when compared to a no treatment group.

Conclusion

The current evidence does not support the use of IASTM to improve pain, function, or range of motion in individuals without extremity or spinal conditions or those with varied pathologies.

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