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The Efficiency of Respiratory Exercises in Rehabilitation of Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Haiting Zhai, Liqing Zhang, JiXiang Xia, and Cheng Li

Background: Low back pain (LBP) is a common musculoskeletal disorder, and respiratory exercise is considered a nonsurgical management method. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis aims to estimate the results of randomized controlled trials on the effect of respiratory training in reducing LBP and its dose relationship. Methods: The present study was conducted from January 2020 to January 2022, following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines (2020). Relevant studies were searched in multiple databases including PubMed, Web of Science, the Cochrane Library, EBSCO, Scopus, ScienceDirect, Wan Fang and China Knowledge Network,, and Google Scholar, using a combination of MeSH/Emtree terms and free-text words. The heterogeneity of the studies was assessed using the I 2 statistic. Results: A total of 14 publications were included in the meta-analysis, with a total sample size of 698 individuals, aged 60–80 years. Respiratory exercise was effective in relieving LBP (standardized mean difference = −0.87, P < .00001) and improving physical disability (standardized mean difference = −0.79, P < .00001). The type of breathing and the total duration of breathing exercises were found to be the source of heterogeneity in this study by subgroup analysis. Subgroup analysis revealed that the most significant effect sizes of breathing resistance exercise to reduce LBP and the most significant effect sizes of breathing relaxation techniques to alleviate physical disability were performed 3 to 5 times per week and period >4 weeks. Respiratory exercise reducing LBP and improving functional disability was most effective when the total duration of the intervention was >500 minutes. Funnel plots showed that the results of the 2 overall studies were reliable without publication bias. Conclusions: Respiratory exercise can effectively reduce LBP and improve physical disability. Therefore, these exercises can be regarded as a part of a LBP management plan. We recommend an exercise program with 30 to 50 minutes, 3 to 5 times per week, and >4 weeks of breathing resistance exercise program as the most effective for treating LBP.

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Preventing Suicide and Promoting Mental Health Among Student-Athletes From Diverse Backgrounds

Karrie L. Hamstra-Wright, John E. Coumbe-Lilley, and Eduardo E. Bustamante

Suicide and contributing mental health conditions in athletes are shared concerns within health care and society at large. This commentary focuses on suicide risk among athletes and the role of sports medicine professionals in preventing suicide and promoting mental health. In this commentary, we draw on the scientific literature and our clinical experiences to pose and answer these questions: Does suicide risk among athletes vary by sociodemographic factors (eg, sex, gender, race/ethnicity, family income, sexual orientation) or if injured? Do sociodemographic differences influence access to and benefits from services among athletes? How do I know my athletes are at risk for suicide? What do I do if one of my athletes shares with me that they have considered suicide? Within our commentary, we review the current literature and clinical practices regarding these questions and close with actionable suggestions and recommendations for future directions.

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Erratum. Influence of Graft Type and Meniscal Involvement on Short-Term Outcomes Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Journal of Sport Rehabilitation

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The End of the Formal Rehabilitation Is Not the End of Rehabilitation: Knee Function Deficits Remain After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Daniel Niederer, Matthias Keller, Max Wießmeier, Lutz Vogt, Amelie Stöhr, Karl-Friedrich Schüttler, Christian Schoepp, Wolf Petersen, Lucia Pinggera, Natalie Mengis, Julian Mehl, Matthias Krause, Maren Janko, Daniel Guenther, Tobias Engeroff, Andree Ellermann, Turgay Efe, Raymond Best, David A. Groneberg, Michael Behringer, and Thomas Stein

Objective: To rate athletes’ functional ability and return to sport (RTS) success at the end of their individual, formal, medically prescribed rehabilitation after anterior anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Methods: In our prospective multicenter cohort study, 88 (42 females) adults aged 18–35 years after acute unilateral ACL rupture and subsequent hamstring grafting were included. All patients were prospectively monitored during their rehabilitation and RTS process until the end of their formal rehabilitation and RTS release. As outcome measures, functional hop and jump tests (front hop, balance hops, and drop jump screening test) and self-report outcomes (Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, ACL-RTS after injury) were assessed. Literature-based cut-off values were selected to rate each performance as fulfilled or not. Results: At 7.5 months (SD 2.3 months) after surgery, the percentage of participants meeting the functional thresholds ranged from 4% (Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score SPORT) and over 44% (ACL-RTS after injury sum score) to 59% (Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score activities of all daily living) in the self-report and from 29% (Balance side hop) to 69% (normalized knee separation distance) in performance testing. Only 4% fulfilled all the cut-offs, while 45% returned to the same type and level of sport. Participants who successfully returned to their previous sport (type and level) were more likely to be “over-cut-off-performers.” Conclusions: The low share of the athletes who fulfilled the functional RTS criteria highlights the importance of continuing the rehabilitation measures after the formal completion to assess the need for and success of, inter alia, secondary-preventive therapies.

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Effects of a Conventional Treatment Plus Scapular Exercises Program in Patients With Chronic Lateral Elbow Tendinopathy: A Pre−Post Single-Group Study

Héctor Gutiérrez-Espinoza, Evelin Estrella-Flores, Iván Cuyul-Vásquez, Rene Jorquera-Aguilera, José Francisco López-Gil, and Felipe Araya-Quintanilla

Background: Weakness of the shoulder girdle muscles has been reported in patients with chronic lateral elbow tendinopathy. The aim of this study was to assess the short- and long-term effects of a conventional treatment plus scapular exercises program in patients with chronic lateral elbow tendinopathy. Methods: A single-group prestudy and poststudy were conducted. The primary outcome was the Patient-Rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation questionnaire score. Secondary outcomes were grip strength; Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire score; Visual Analogue Scale score at rest and at grip, and presence of scapular dyskinesis. Results: A total of 65 patients (72.3% females), with a mean age of 41.8 years, were analyzed. At the end of 6 weeks, the results showed clinically and statistically significant differences (P < .05). At 1-year follow-up, the differences were: Patient-Rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation −31 points (P < .001); grip strength +33.6% (P < .001); Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand −34.2 points (P < .001); Visual Analogue Scale at rest −2.5 cm (P < .001); and Visual Analogue Scale at grip −2.3 cm (P < .001). Conclusion: At the end of 6 weeks and at 1-year follow-up, conventional treatment plus scapular exercises program showed statistically and clinically significant differences in all functional outcomes assessed in patients with lateral elbow tendinopathy.

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Influence of Graft Type and Meniscal Involvement on Short-Term Outcomes Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Casey Moler, Kevin M. Cross, Mandeep Kaur, Amelia Bruce Leicht, Joe Hart, and David Diduch

Context: The purpose of this study was to compare short-term clinical outcomes between meniscus procedures performed with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR), ACLR (ACLR-only), ACLR with meniscectomy/resection (ACLR-resect), and ACLR with meniscal repair (ACLR-repair) for bone patellar tendon bone grafts (BPTB) and hamstring tendon grafts, separately. Design: This was a cross-sectional study conducted in a controlled laboratory setting as part of a large point-of-care collaborative research program. Methods: This study included 314 participants (168 females; mean [SD]: age, 19.7 [4.8]) with primary unilateral ACLR with a BPTB or hamstring tendon. Patients were divided into 3 groups depending on meniscal procedure (ACLR-only, ACLR-resect, and ACLR-repair). Postsurgical testing included: isokinetic assessment of knee extension and flexion, single-leg hop tests, and patient-reported outcomes. Multivariate analysis of covariance compared differences between meniscal procedures on the battery of tests, and for each statistically significant variable an analysis of covariance assessed the effect of meniscal procedure within each graft type. Chi-square analysis assessed the influence of meniscal procedure on tests’ pass rates defined as 90% of limb symmetry index. Results: BPTB: ACLR-only had greater hamstring strength than ACLR-resect (P = .05) and ACLR-repair (P = .005). ACLR-only had the highest proportion of participants to pass the hamstring strength test (P = .02). Hamstring tendon: ACLR-only (P = .03) and ACLR-resect (P = .003) had higher International Knee Documentation Committee scale scores than ACLR-repair. There was a significant difference in the proportion of participants who scored >90% limb symmetry index on the timed hop test (P = .05). Conclusions: The influence of meniscal repair on clinical outcomes is dependent on the graft choice. Following an ACLR with BPTB and a meniscal procedure, hamstring function should be more closely monitored for optimal short-term recovery.

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Effect of Neuromuscular Electrostimulation With Blood Flow Restriction on Acute Muscle Swelling of the Abductor Hallucis

Kazunori Okamura, Manami Hamaguchi, Yuna Ueno, and Taira Kida

Context: Plantar intrinsic foot muscle strength training is difficult to master to a degree sufficient to elicit muscle hypertrophy in most individuals. It is possible that combining neuromuscular electrostimulation (NMES) and blood flow restriction (BFR) can elicit plantar intrinsic foot muscle hypertrophy regardless of the individual’s technique. This study aimed to determine the effects of NMES training with BFR on acute muscle swelling in the abductor hallucis. Design: Randomized, controlled, single-blind trial design. Methods: Forty-eight participants were randomly allocated to the NMES + BFR, NMES, or Sham NMES + BFR groups. All participants received abductor hallucis NMES for 15 minutes. Participants in the NMES + BFR and Sham NMES + BFR groups received NMES with BFR. The intensity of NMES was the sensory threshold in the Sham NMES + BFR group. The cross-sectional area of the abductor hallucis was measured pretraining and posttraining using ultrasonography by a single investigator blinded to the participants’ allocations. Results: After 15 minutes of training, the cross-sectional area of the abductor hallucis was significantly increased in the NMES + BFR (P < .001) and the Sham NMES + BFR (P = .004) groups. Moreover, the rate of increase was significantly higher in the NMES + BFR group than in the NMES or the Sham NMES + BFR groups (P < .001 and P = .001, respectively). Conclusions: Since it is possible that the amount of muscle swelling immediately after training correlates with muscle hypertrophy when training is continued, the results of this study suggest that NMES training with BFR is a training method that can be expected to produce plantar intrinsic foot muscle hypertrophy. Further studies are needed to confirm the long-term effects of NMES training with BFR.

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Response to “Comment on: Differences in Neurocognitive Functions Between Healthy Controls and Anterior Cruciate Ligament-Reconstructed Male Athletes Who Passed or Failed Return to Sport Criteria: A Preliminary Study”

Razieh Mofateh, Maryam Kiani Haft Lang, Neda Orakifar, and Shahin Goharpey

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Comment on: “Differences in Neurocognitive Functions Between Healthy Controls and Anterior Cruciate Ligament-Reconstructed Male Athletes Who Passed or Failed Return to Sport Criteria: A Preliminary Study”

Jérôme Murgier, Guillaume Zunzarren, and Bertrand Garet

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Transient Ischemic Attack in a 22-Year-Old NCAA Division I Baseball Athlete: A Case Study

Daisy Luera, Ronald L. Snarr, Sara Posson, Ioannis Liras, George Liras, and Erica M. Filep

Context: A healthy, 22-year-old, male NCAA Division I baseball shortstop was experiencing confusion, chest pain, and tightness during an off-season intersquad scrimmage. The patient did not have any significant medical history or mechanism of head injury. After initial evaluation from the athletic trainer, the patient’s cognitive status began to quickly decline. The emergency action plan was put in place rapidly and referred the patient to the local emergency clinic. Case Presentation: Upon arrival at the emergency department, an electrocardiogram was performed to rule out myocardial infarction or stroke. The first electrocardiogram results returned negative for any cardiac pathology, but a stroke alert was called. The patient was then transported to a level II trauma center due to continual cognitive decline. The patient was diagnosed with transient ischemic attack (TIA) secondary to an undiagnosed patent foramen ovale (PFO) that would later be diagnosed with further evaluation 2 months after the initial TIA incident. After multiple diagnostic and laboratory tests, the PFO went undetected until a 2D echocardiogram was performed and evaluated by a cardiologist. Management and Outcomes: After the confirmation of the congenital defect, surgical intervention was performed to correct the PFO using catheterization. Despite multiple preparticipation examinations, electrocardiograms, and examination of past family history, the PFO went undetected until the patient experienced symptoms of TIA. The discovery of PFO in this 22-year-old athletic individual is unusual because traditional screening techniques (electrocardiogram and preparticipation examinations) failed to detect the congenital defect. Conclusions: Due to the emergent and timely actions of the athletic trainer, the patient has made a full recovery and is able to compete fully in athletic events. This case study amplifies the need for athletic trainers at all sporting events, updated and reviewed emergency action plans, rapid recognition of TIA in athletic individuals, and return-to-play protocol for an athletic individual after TIA.