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Trigger Point Manual Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Noncancer Pain in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

Review article
Denneny D, et al. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2019.


OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of trigger point manual therapy (TPMT) for reducing chronic noncancer pain and associated problems in adults, by analyzing all relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

DATA SOURCES: We searched databases and clinical trials registers from their inception to May 2017.

STUDY SELECTION: We included RCTs in any language that recruited patients older than 18, with pain of 3 months' duration or more. We assessed pain, function, and patient-reported improvement as outcomes.

DATA EXTRACTION: Two authors independently extracted and verified data. Meta-analysis was completed where possible, otherwise data were synthesized narratively.

DATA SYNTHESIS: We combined all data using a random-effects model and assessed the quality of evidence using GRADE. A total of 19 trials (involving 1047 participants) met inclusion criteria, representing TPMT treatment of musculoskeletal, pelvic, and facial pain. No effect was found for short-term pain relief (mean standardized difference -0.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], -1.08 to 0.02). One small study showed a longer-term benefit for pain (mean standardized difference -2.00; 95% CI, -3.40 to -0.60) but with low confidence in the effect. Significant gains emerged for function (mean standardized difference -0.77; 95% CI, -1.27 to -0.26) and in patient global response (odds ratio 3.79; 95% CI, 1.86-7.71) from 4 studies, but not for health-related quality of life.

CONCLUSIONS: Evidence for TPMT for chronic noncancer pain is weak and it cannot currently be recommended.

Copyright © 2018 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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