Immediate effects of myofascial release (foam-rolling) with static stretching in patients with mechanical neck pain-a randomized controlled trial
Kshipra Pedamkar, Supriya Dhumale
Background: Faulty posture is a frequent cause of neck pain and disability. As the posterior neck musculature needs to support the weight of the head against the pull of gravity, they are in a constant state of contraction. This sustained contraction leads to connective and soft tissue changes and shortening of these structures, eventually leading to lengthening and weakness of the opposing group of muscles and contributing to pain. Thus, treatment must aim at pain relief and lengthening these tightened structures. With this purpose in mind, the use of a foam-roller for administering Myofascial release to the posterior neck muscles in patients with mechanical neck pain has not been adequately explored. Hence, the aim of this study was to find out if foam-rolling for neck used in conjunction with static stretching yield significantly greater improvements in mobility and pain, immediately post intervention, in patients with acute mechanical neck pain.
Methods: 78 individuals, of any gender, in the age group of 19-35 years, experiencing mechanical neck pain for < 3 months were allocated to the study after screening for inclusion and exclusion criteria. After obtaining written consent, the participating individuals were randomly allocated into: a control group receiving 10 minutes of Hot Fomentation followed by 10 minutes of static stretching and an experimental group receiving Myofascial release using foam-roller for 5 minutes in addition to hot fomentation and stretching. Intensity of neck pain was assessed using Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and active cervical range of motion using a universal goniometer prior to and immediately post intervention.
Results: The mean reduction in VAS score in experimental group was 27 mm (SD 16) while in control group it was 9.2 mm (SD 8.1). The mean increase in active cervical range of: flexion was 7.8° (SD 4.7) v/s 4.4° (SD 2.9), extension was 10° (SD 6) v/s 4.1° (SD 2.7), right lateral flexion was 6.7° (SD 3.8) v/s 3.4° (SD 2.4), left lateral flexion was 7.4° (SD 3.1) v/s 2.8° (SD 2.5), right rotation was 7.7° (SD 5.4) v/s 3.7° (SD 3) and left rotation was 9.8° (SD 5.5) v/s 3.8° (SD 2.9) in the experimental group and control group respectively.
Conclusion: Individuals with mechanical neck pain experience better short-term improvements in pain and cervical mobility post foam-rolling used in conjunction with stretching.