Questions: In people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, does the Manual Diaphragm Release Technique improve diaphragmatic mobility after a single treatment, or cumulatively? Does the technique also improve exercise capacity, maximal respiratory pressures, and kinematics of the chest wall and abdomen?
Design: Randomised, controlled trial with concealed allocation, intention-to-treat analysis, and blinding of participants and assessors.
Participants: Twenty adults aged over 60 years with clinically stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Intervention: The experimental group received six treatments with the Manual Diaphragm Release Technique on non-consecutive days within a 2-week period. The control group received sham treatments following the same regimen.
Outcome measures: The primary outcome was diaphragmatic mobility, which was analysed using ultrasonography. The secondary outcomes were: the 6-minute walk test; maximal respiratory pressures; and abdominal and chest wall kinematics measured by optoelectronic plethysmography. Outcomes were measured before and after the first and sixth treatments.
Results: The Manual Diaphragm Release Technique significantly improved diaphragmatic mobility over the course of treatments, with a between-group difference in cumulative improvement of 18mm (95% CI 8 to 28). The technique also significantly improved the 6-minute walk distance over the treatment course, with a between-group difference in improvement of 22 m (95% CI 11 to 32). Maximal expiratory pressure and sniff nasal inspiratory pressure both showed significant acute benefits from the technique during the first and sixth treatments, but no cumulative benefit. Inspiratory capacity estimated by optoelectronic plethysmography showed significant cumulative benefit of 330ml (95% CI 100 to 560). The effects on other outcomes were non-significant or small.
Conclusion: The Manual Diaphragm Release Technique improves diaphragmatic mobility, exercise capacity and inspiratory capacity in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This technique could be considered in the management of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Trial registration: NCT02212184.
Keywords: COPD; Manual therapy; Optoelectronic plethysmography; Respiratory therapy; Ultrasonography.
Copyright © 2015 Australian Physiotherapy Association. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.