OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to provide an updated systematic review and meta-analysis regarding the effectiveness of mobilization with movement (MWM) techniques on range of motion (ROM).
METHODS: An electronic search strategy of the Physiotherapy Evidence Database, PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase, Google Scholar, and CINAHL was performed between August 2008 and January 2018. Two independent reviewers selected the studies. Only randomized controlled trials were included. The methodology was independently assessed by 2 reviewers using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. The Z indicator was considered for the assessment of statistical significance of ROM change, whereas for each meta-analysis referring to a specific joint pathology, the total mean difference (95% confidence interval) was compared against minimum detectable change values from relevant studies conducted in similar populations to assess clinical significance.
RESULTS: Included were 18 studies with 753 participants in 10 separate meta-analyses for ROM. All studies were classified as high quality or medium quality. Peripheral joint MWM seems to produce better therapeutic results in comparison to sham, passive, other active, or no therapeutic approach, regarding improvement of joint ROM in specific peripheral joint pathologies, consistently in all movement directions for shoulder adhesive capsulitis (mean improvement 12.30o-26.09o, P < .02) and hip pain (mean improvement 4.50o-14.80o, P < .0001).
CONCLUSION: Mobilization with movement produced a statistically and clinically significant ROM increase consistently in all movement directions for shoulder adhesive capsulitis and hip pain. However, for shoulder impingement, shoulder pain/dysfunction, hamstring tightness, knee osteoarthritis, and chronic ankle instability pathologies, a therapeutic benefit regarding ROM could not be clearly established. Owing to the small number of individual studies included within the separate groups of pathologies examined in our systematic review, methodologically rigorous studies with longer follow-up periods are warranted to better inform the evidence base on the effects of MWM on ROM.
Author keywords: Musculoskeletal Manipulations, Systematic Review
Author affiliations: Physiotherapy Programme, Metropolitan College, Health Sciences Faculty, School of Physiotherapy Athens, Greece - franchised institution with University of East London, London, UK, Athens, Attica, Greece
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