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J Chiropr Med. 2016 Dec;15(4):235-242. Epub 2016 Oct 11.

Comparison Between the Effects of Passive and Active Soft Tissue Therapies on Latent Trigger Points of Upper Trapezius Muscle in Women: Single-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial.

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Student Research Committee, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Physiotherapy Research Centre, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of English Language Teaching, School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of passive versus active soft tissue therapies on pain and ranges of motion in women with latent myofascial trigger points.


Forty-two female patients, aged 18 to 64 years, with a history of neck pain and latent myofascial trigger points in the upper trapezius muscle were randomly assigned to 3 groups: group A received passive soft tissue therapy, group B received active soft tissue therapy, and a control group C received a sham procedure. The treatment consisted of 3 sessions in a 1-week period with 1-day break between each session. The local pain intensity, measured with a visual analog scale and pain pressure threshold (PPT) using algometry, and active cervical contralateral flexion (ACLF) measured with goniometry, were obtained at baseline, after the third session, and a week after the third session.


The results indicated a significant decrease in local pain intensity on the visual analog scale within each group (A and B) compared with the control group (C) (P < .05). The passive group had significant improvement in PPT compared with the control group (P < .05). There were no significant differences in ACLF after treatment between the 3 groups (P > .05).


Both passive and active soft tissue therapies were determined to reduce pain intensity and increase ACLF range of motion, although passive therapy was more effective in increasing PPT in these patients compared with the control group.


Massage; Musculoskeletal Manipulations; Myofascial Pain Syndromes; Therapy, Soft Tissue; Trapezius Muscle; Trigger Points

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