Objective: To investigate effects of traditional Thai massage (TTM) on electromyographic (EMG) activity, muscle tension and pain intensity in patients with upper back pain associated with myofascial trigger points (MTrPs).
Design: A single-blind, randomized clinical trial.
Setting: The Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Science, Mae Fah Luang University, Thailand.
Intervention: Fifty patients were randomly assigned to receive a 30-min session of either TTM or control (sham microwave diathermy).
Outcomes: Electromyogram (EMG), Muscle tension rating, and pain intensity rating
Results: TTM were associated with significant decreases in EMG, muscle tension and pain intensity after the end of treatment session (p<0.05). For all outcomes, similar changes were not observed in the control group (p>0.05) except for muscle tension (p<0.05). In addition, there was a significantly greater reduction in all parameters for the TTM group when compared with the control group.
Conclusion: We therefore suggest that TTM can increase physical relaxation and reduce pain in patients with upper back pain associated with MTrPs.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02067325.
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