The prevalence and pattern of myofascial trigger points in the shoulder girdles of swimmers as compared to non-swimmers in the greater Durban area.
Kinsman, Tim Graham
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Objectives: Myofascial pain dysfunction is a common musculoskeletal disorder, known to affect athletes. This research aimed to create a map of myofascial trigger points (MFTPs), to ascertain sport specific combinations. Design and Setting: This IRB approved study was a cross-sectional, observational study. Participants: Forty swimmers and forty non-swimmers (soccer players). Measurements : All participants underwent one assessment, non-intervention session where primary measures included: shoulder disability index (SDI), myofascial diagnostic scale (MDS), algometer and numerical pain rating scale (NRS). Manual palpation, the MDS and an algometer assessed MFTPs and the SDI overall function. SPSS version 20 (IBM) using Pearson’s chi square tests / Fisher’s exact tests compared MFTP locations between the groups, and non-parametric Mann-Whitney tests compared continuous measures (due to significant non-normal distribution), with a p-value <0.05 level of significance. Results: MFTP presence is very uncommon in swimmers, with associated pain and loss of function being very low on average. No evidence was found that swimmers were affected more than non swimmers by MFTPs related pain or loss of function, but has indicated that algometer measurements for infraspinatus MFTP 1, were significantly higher (p<0.027) (showing decreased tenderness) than the values in non swimmers. Conclusions: These results contradict the literature which suggests that unique activity specific patterns of MFTPs exist. This may be as a result of underlying systemic causes of MFTPs that obscured the pattern in this study. It is therefore suggested that larger trials with more participants per group be done in order to verify the results of this study.