Background: Muscle energy techniques are applied to reduce pain and increase range of motion. These are applied to a variety of pathological conditions and on asymptomatic subjects. There is however limited knowledge on their effectiveness and which protocol may be the most beneficial.
Objective: The aim of this review is to determine the efficacy of muscle energy techniques (MET) in symptomatic and asymptomatic subjects.
Design: Systematic Review.
Methods: A literature search was performed using the following database: Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, NLM Pubmed and ScienceDirect. Studies regarding MET in asymptomatic and symptomatic patients were considered for investigation. The main outcomes took into account range of motion, chronic and acute pain and trigger points. Two trained investigators independently screened eligible studies according to the eligibility criteria, extracted data and assessed risk of bias. Randomized control trials (RCT’s) were analyzed for quality using the PEDro scale.
Results: A total of 26 studies were considered eligible and included in the quantitative synthesis: 14 regarding symptomatic patients and 12 regarding asymptomatic subjects. Quality assessment of the studies through the PEDro scale observed a “moderate to high” quality of the included records.
Conclusions: MET are an effective treatment for reducing chronic and acute pain of the lower back. MET are also effective in treating chronic neck pain and chronic lateral epicondylitis. MET can be applied to increase range of motion of a joint when a functional limitation is present. Other techniques seem to be more appropriate compared to MET for trigger points.
Author keywords: Manipulative therapies — Pain — Range of motion
Author affiliations: ET, AB, AP: Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Unit, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy; ET, ARC: International Academy of Osteopathic Medicine, AISeRCO, Palermo, Italy; DM: Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO USA; DM: Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL USA
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