Effect of Ischemic Compression on Trigger Points in the Neck and Shoulder Muscles in Office Workers

The authors’ goal for this study was to determine the short-term effect of ischemic compression (IC) for trigger points (TPs) on muscle strength, mobility, pain sensitivity, and disability in office workers and the effect on disability and general pain six months post-intervention. Nineteen office workers with mild neck and shoulder complaints received 8 sessions of IC in which deep pressure was given on the 4 most painful TPs identified during examination. Outcome measures were general neck and shoulder complaints on a Numeric Rating Scale, Neck Disability Index (NDI), neck mobility (inclinometer), muscle strength (dynamometer), and pain sensitivity (Numeric Rating Scale and algometry). Subjects were tested at baseline (precontrol), after a control period of no treatment of 4 weeks (postcontrol), and after a 4-week intervention training (posttreatment). At a follow-up after six months, the participants were asked about pain and disability. Their results showed a statistically significant reduction in general neck/shoulder pain at posttreatment (P = .001) and at 6-month follow-up (P = .003) compared with precontrol and postcontrol. They found no significant main effect for NDI scores. Pressure pain threshold improved at posttreatment in all 4 treated TPs (P < .001). There were significant improvements in mobility and strength from precontrol/postcontrol to posttreatment (P < .05).

The authors concluded that their study has shown that a 4-week treatment of TPs for IC resulted in a significant improvement in general neck and shoulder complaints, pressure pain sensitivity, mobility, and muscle strength in the short term in a small sample of office workers with mildly severe chronic pain. After six months, there was a further reduction in general pain, but no change in NDI scores.