Do thermal agents affect range of movement and mechanical properties in soft tissues? A systematic review

Bleakley, Chris M. & Costello, Joseph (2013) Do thermal agents affect range of movement and mechanical properties in soft tissues? A systematic review. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 94(1), pp. 149-163.

View at publisher

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine the effect of thermal agents on the range of movement (ROM) and mechanical properties in soft tissue and to discuss their clinical relevance.

DATA SOURCES:

Electronic databases (Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, and EMBASE) were searched from their earliest available record up to May 2011 using Medical Subjects Headings and key words. We also undertook related articles searches and read reference lists of all incoming articles.

STUDY SELECTION:

Studies involving human participants describing the effects of thermal interventions on ROM and/or mechanical properties in soft tissue. Two reviewers independently screened studies against eligibility criteria.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Data were extracted independently by 2 review authors using a customized form. Methodologic quality was also assessed by 2 authors independently, using the Cochrane risk of bias tool.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

Thirty-six studies, comprising a total of 1301 healthy participants, satisfied the inclusion criteria. There was a high risk of bias across all studies. Meta-analyses were not undertaken because of clinical heterogeneity; however, effect sizes were calculated. There were conflicting data on the effect of cold on joint ROM, accessory joint movement, and passive stiffness. There was limited evidence to determine whether acute cold applications enhance the effects of stretching, and further evidence is required. There was evidence that heat increases ROM, and a combination of heat and stretching is more effective than stretching alone.

CONCLUSIONS:

Heat is an effective adjunct to developmental and therapeutic stretching techniques and should be the treatment of choice for enhancing ROM in a clinical or sporting setting. The effects of heat or ice on other important mechanical properties (eg, passive stiffness) remain equivocal and should be the focus of future study.

Impact and interest:

14 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™
11 citations in Web of Science®

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

500 since deposited on 16 Dec 2012
63 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 55779
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Rehabilitation, Muscle stretching exercises, Joint range of motion, Cold temperature, Hot temperature, Cryotherapy
DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.07.023
ISSN: 0003-9993
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600) > Exercise Physiology (110602)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600) > Sports Medicine (110604)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine
Deposited On: 16 Dec 2012 22:58
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2013 13:55

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page