Intra-rater reliability of an experienced physiotherapist in locating myofascial trigger points in upper trapezius muscle



Barbero, Marco and Bertoli, P and Cescon, C and Macmillan, Fiona and Coutts, Fiona and Gatti, Roberto (2012) Intra-rater reliability of an experienced physiotherapist in locating myofascial trigger points in upper trapezius muscle. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 20 (4). pp. 171-177. ISSN 1066-9817

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Abstract

Objectives: Myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) are considered the principal clinical feature of myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). An MTrP consists of spot tenderness within a taut band of muscle fibers and its stimulation can produce both local and referred pain. The clinical diagnosis of MPS depends on correct history taking and a physical examination aimed at identifying the presence of MTrP. The purpose of this study was to investigate the intra-rater reliability of a palpation protocol used for locating an MTrP in the upper trapezius muscle. Methods: Twenty-four subjects with MTrP in the upper trapezius muscle were examined by an experienced physiotherapist. During each of eight experimental sessions, subjects were examined twice in randomized order using a palpation protocol. An anatomical landmark system was defined and the MTrP location established using X and Y values. Results: The intraclass correlation coefficient ICC(1,1) values were 0.62 (95% CI: 0.30–0.81) for X and 0.81 (95% CI: 0.61–0.91) for Y. The Bland–Altman plots for X and Y showed a mean of difference of 0.04 and −0.2 mm, respectively. Limits of agreement for X ranged from −26.3 to 26.2 mm and for Y from −27 to 26.4 mm. Discussion: The ICC(1,1) for the observed values revealed a moderate to high correlation and the Bland–Altman analysis showed means of difference very close to zero with narrow limits of agreement. An experienced physiotherapist can reliably identify MTrP locations in upper trapezius muscle using a palpation protocol.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Myofascial pain syndromes; Intra-rater reliability; Myofascial trigger points; Palpation; Upper trapezius muscle
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Physiotherapy
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2012 09:47
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2013 09:39
URI: http://eresearch.qmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2887

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