Objective: To systematically review current literature to determine the effectiveness of the ischemic compression (IC) technique on pain and function in individuals with shoulder pain.
Methods: This review was conducted according to recommendations of Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses and the Cochrane Collaboration for Systematic Reviews; a search was performed in the electronic databases PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, SPORTDiscus, Physiotherapy Evidence Database, and Web of Science. Randomized clinical trials and quasi-randomized clinical trials were included, and the methodological quality was evaluated through the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale.
Results: The search found 572 studies; of these, 71 were selected by title and, subsequently, 29 were selected through abstract analyses. After critical analyses, 5 studies were included. The methodological quality ranged from 4 (reasonable) to 9 (excellent) points. Pain was assessed by all studies using the visual analog scale, Global Perceived Effect scale, Numerical Rating Scale, pressure pain threshold, or Perceived Amelioration Numerical Scale. Function was evaluated by 3 studies through the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index; Neck Disability Index; American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Standardized Shoulder Assessment; and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaires. The studies showed that the IC technique produces immediate and short-term positive effects for pain, and positive short-term effects for shoulder function in individuals with shoulder pain.
Conclusion: The IC technique seems to be beneficial for pain and shoulder function. However, caution is needed when considering this evidence owing to the limited quality of some studies, the few articles found, and the lack of standardization of the application parameters of the technique to facilitate its reproducibility.
Author keywords: Musculoskeletal Manipulations; Acupressure; Massage; Trigger Points; Shoulder; Pain
Author affiliations: ACdS, RMLJ, JBA, GHG, CAL, LMSMdAV, SMM: Department of Physical Therapy, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil; MDN: Department of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
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