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Open access

The Comparison of Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization and Self-Stretch Measures to Increase Shoulder Range of Motion in Overhead Athletes: A Critically Appraised Topic

Matthew J. Hussey, Alex E. Boron-Magulick, Tamara C. Valovich McLeod, and Cailee E. Welch Bacon

Clinical Scenario: Shoulder range of motion (ROM) in throwing athletes relies on a balance of mobility and stability to maintain proper function and health that, if disrupted, can lead to shoulder injury. There have been several studies that address the relationship between ROM deficits and overhead injuries; however, it may be unclear to clinicians which interventions are most effective for increasing ROM in the glenohumeral joints of overhead athletes. Clinical Question: In overhead athletes who have deficient shoulder ROM, is instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) more effective at acutely increasing ROM over the course of a patient’s treatment when compared with self-stretching? Summary of Key Findings: A thorough literature review yielded 3 studies relevant to the clinical question, and all 3 studies were included. Two articles found a significant increase in acute ROM when compared with a self-stretch measure. All 3 articles showed increases in internal rotation and horizontal adduction, and 1 study reported an increase in total arc of shoulder ROM. Clinical Bottom Line: There is moderate evidence to support the use of IASTM to acutely increase ROM in the glenohumeral joint of overhead athletes. Clinicians should be aware of the variability with recommended treatment times; however, positive results have been seen with treatments lasting 5 to 6 minutes per treatment region. There is no consensus for treatment intensity, and certain IASTM tools require certification. Strength of Recommendation: Grade B evidence exists that IASTM is more effective at increasing shoulder ROM (ie, internal rotation, horizontal adduction, external rotation, total arc of motion) in overhead athletes than self-stretching measures.

Open access

Pain Education With Therapeutic Exercise in Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain Rehabilitation: A Critically Appraised Topic

Kaitlyn C. Jones, Evelyn C. Tocco, Ashley N. Marshall, Tamara C. Valovich McLeod, and Cailee E. Welch Bacon

Clinical Scenario: Low back pain is widely prevalent in the general population as well as in athletes. Therapeutic exercise is a low-risk and effective treatment option for chronic pain that can be utilized by all rehabilitation clinicians. However, therapeutic exercise alone does not address the psychosocial aspects that are associated with chronic low back pain. Pain education is the umbrella term utilized to encompass any type of education to the patient about their chronic pain. Therapeutic exercise in combination with pain education may allow for more well-rounded and effective treatment for patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain (NS-LBP). Clinical Question: Does pain education combined with therapeutic exercise, compared with therapeutic exercise alone, improve patient pain in adults with chronic NS-LBP over a 2- to 3-month treatment period? Summary of Key Findings: A thorough literature review yielded 8 studies potentially relevant to the clinical question, and 3 studies that met the inclusion criteria were included. The 3 studies included reports that exercise therapy reduced symptoms. Two of the 3 included studies support the claim that exercise therapy reduces the symptoms of chronic NS-LBP when combined with pain education, whereas one study found no difference between pain education with therapeutic exercise. Clinical Bottom Line: There is moderate evidence to support the use of pain education along with therapeutic exercise when attempting to reduce symptoms of pain and disability in patients with chronic NS-LBP. Educational interventions should be created to educate patients about the foundation of pain, and pain education should be implemented as a part of the clinician’s strategy for the rehabilitation of patients with chronic NS-LBP. Strength of Recommendation: Grade B evidence exists to support the use of patient education with therapeutic exercise for decreasing pain in patients with chronic NS-LBP.