Influence of instrument assisted soft tissue treatment techniques on myofascial trigger points

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2014 Oct;18(4):602-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2014.02.004. Epub 2014 Mar 1.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of instrument assisted soft tissue techniques (IASTT) on myofascial trigger points (MTrP).

Design: Randomized, controlled study with the researcher assessing the MTrP sensitivity blinded to the treatment rendered.

Participants: Phase 1 = 27; Phase 2 = 22.

Intervention: MTrPs were identified in the upper back. In phase 1, two MTrPs (right & left) were identified. One was treated with IASTT, the other was a control. In phase 2, one MTrP was identified in a treatment and a control group. In each phase, the treatment groups received six treatments of IASTT.

Outcome measures: Sensitivity threshold of the MTrP was assessed with a dolorimeter.

Results: There was a significant improvement in both groups over time but there was no difference between the treatment and control groups.

Conclusions: The use of a pressure dolorimeter may have served as a form of ischemic compression treatment. This assessment tool may have been a mitigating factor in the over-shadowing any potential influence of the IASTT on the MTrP. Thus, another assessment tool needs to be identified for MTrP assessment. Until that technique is identified, the effect of IASTT on MTrPs in inconclusive.

Keywords: IASTT; MTrP; Trigger point pain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Back Muscles / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Therapy, Soft Tissue / methods*
  • Trigger Points*