Objective: This study aimed to demonstrate the effect of self-exercise with a therapeutic inflatable ball (SEIB) in elderly patients with myofascial pain syndrome. Design: Single-blind, randomized, controlled noninferiority trial. Setting: University campus. Participants: Forty elderly patients with myofascial pain syndrome completed the study. They were randomly allocated to SEIB (n = 22; mean age, 70.23 ± 6.11 years) or ultrasound (US) therapy (n = 18; mean age, 67.99 ± 5.64 years). Intervention: SEIB and US therapy (twice weekly for 4 consecutive weeks). Outcome measures: Visual analog scale (VAS), pressure pain threshold (PPT), and cervical lateral flexion (CLF) were measured at baseline and at 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks. Results: The noninferiority test indicated that SEIB was not inferior to US for VAS, PPT, and CLF. Between-group comparisons showed no significant differences in the VAS (F = 2.579; p = 0.117), the PPT (F = 0.245; p = 0.624), and the CLF (F = 2.072; p = 0.159). In within-group comparisons, both groups presented significant differences in VAS (SEIB after 1 week and US after 1 week), PPT (SEIB after 3 weeks and US after 4 weeks), and CLF (SEIB after 4 weeks and US after 4 weeks) compared with baseline values. Conclusions: SEIB for 4 weeks has an effect similar to that of US for desensitizing myofascial pain and increasing joint flexibility. High accessibility and low cost would make SEIB a practical self-treatment method in elderly patients with myofascial pain syndrome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine