Are There Articles & Research That Show Fascial Manipulation is Effective?

This post is a continuation in a series on Fascial Manipulation (FM)

Absolutely.  More are being added to the compilation every day, I’ll stop at 10 articles. Some of these can be found in the articles section of the resources tab.  Because that section deals with more than just FM articles, I’ll share the ones specific to FM here with a short synopsis.  If the article is provided under open access and I can link to it I will.  Otherwise I can only give the reference, out of respect for copyright and keeping myself out of trouble. 

Application of Fascial Manipulation© technique in chronic shoulder pain—Anatomical basis and clinical implications. Day J, Stecco C, Stecco A. 28 subjects with chronic shoulder pain experienced significant improvement in pain, mobility, and function after treatment with FM. These improvements were sustained at 3 month follow-up.

Fascial Manipulation Associated With Standard Care Compared to Only Standard Post-surgical Care for Total Hip Arthroplasty: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Busato Massimo, et al. American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 51 post-total hip arthroplasty patients were seen for daily sessions of active exercise. They were randomly assigned to one of two groups: one doing only the active exercise, and the other doing the active exercise for all but two sessions which were replaced by treatment with FM. Statistically significant differences were observed between the two groups, with the FM group demonstrating greater improvement in hip range of motion, strength, pain, and function.

Fascial Manipulation® for chronic aspecific low back pain: a single blinded randomized controlled trial. Mirco Branchini et al. doi:10.12688/f1000research.6890.2. 24 subjects with chronic aspecific low back pain were randomized into two groups, with both receiving eight treatments over four weeks. Outcomes of pain and function were measured at baseline, at the end of therapy and at a 1 month and a 3 months follow-up. Patients receiving FM® showed statistically and clinically significant improvements at the end of care for all outcomes.

Fascial Manipulation for persistent knee pain following ACL and meniscus repair.
Rajasekar S, Aure´lie Marie Marchand A. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies (2016), Case report of a 32 year old male experiencing persistent knee pain and limitations after knee surgery and extensive rehabilitation. Four treatments of FM were administered over the course of a month, and the patient experienced significant improvement in pain and dysfunction which was sustained at periodic follow-ups extending two years.

Fascial Manipulation in the Management of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Kannabiran B, Thamarai Selvi T, Nagarani R. EC Orthopaedics 4.2 (2016): 473-482. 10 subjects with findings of carpal tunnel syndrome were treated with FM and sustained significant improvement in pain.

Fascial manipulation vs. standard physical therapy practice for low back pain diagnoses: A pragmatic study. Harper B, Steinbeck L, Aron A. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies (2019) Volume 23, Issue 1, pages 115-121. 102 patients with low back pain (LBP) associated with a wide variety of diagnoses were divided into two groups which were similar for gender, age and chronicity of LBP. Both groups received thermal and/or electrical modalities and general exercises.  One group, called the standard physical therapy group (SPT) received general soft tissue work, joint mobilization/manipulation, and/or traction. The second group, called the FM group, received FM. Participants completed a number of outcome measures to track progress.  Data analysis revealed statistically significant differences between SPT and FM, with the FM group accomplishing much greater improvement in pain and disability.  These improvements were noted with fewer visits and a shorter time than the SPT group.

Treatment of Chronic Pelvic Pain with Fascial Manipulation®.  Pasini A, Sfriso M, Stecco C.  Pelviperineology 2015; 35: 13-16  A nice report on two cases of pelvic pain using FM. The first was a 17 year old girl suffering with dysmenorrhea (dysfunction related to menstruation such as pain and heavy bleeding) as well as knee pain. She was seen for one session of FM, and reported 80% improvement in the status of both her knee and pelvic pain, which were sustained at one year follow-up. The second case involved a 38 year old male with a chronic history of severe pelvic pain, urinary urgency and frequency, low back pain, and a sense of heaviness in the legs. He reported significant improvement after one treatment with FM, and was symptom free a year later as reported in follow-up.

Myofascial Pain of the Jaw Muscles: Comparison of Short-Term Effectiveness of Botulinum Toxin Injections and Fascial Manipulation Technique. Guarda-Nardini L, Stecco A, Stecco C, Masiero S, Manfredini D. This was a randomized controlled trial comparing the short-term effectiveness of botulinum toxin injections versus FM in 30 patients with temporomandibular dysfunction (often called “TMJ”). Both treatment protocols provided significant improvement over time for pain symptoms as well as jaw range of motion, with improvements sustained at three months. (Note from CMW: FM may be considered superior in that it is non-invasive, is typically covered by insurance, and does not involve the use of a toxin to which the body develops antibodies.)

T1ρ‐Mapping for Musculoskeletal Pain Diagnosis: Case Series of Variation of Water Bound Glycosaminoglycans Quantification before and after Fascial Manipulation® in Subjects with Elbow Pain. Menon R, Oswald S, Raghavan P, Regatte R, Stecco A. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 708; doi:10.3390/ijerph17030708. Patients with elbow pain were evaluated with an innovative form of MRI called T1ρ (pronounced T-row), with imaging done both before and after three treatments with FM. Images showed a significant improvement in the water uptake of the connective tissue in the region of the painful elbow after treatment. (Inability of the connective tissue to bind with water is thought to be a major source of the pain and dysfunction experienced with many musculoskeletal syndromes.) Subjects also experienced improvement in pain and disability.

The influence of Fascial Manipulation on Function, Ankle Dorsiflexion Range of Motion and Postural sway in individuals with Chronic Ankle Instability. Kamani NC, Poojari S, Prabu Raja G. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies.
j.jbmt.2021.03.024. This study looked at 13 recreational athletes ages 18-40 with a history of ankle sprain and recurrent issues in the ankle. Initial measurements included pain, range of motion, and postural sway. These showed significant improvement after treatment using FM, making this intervention recommended as part of an ankle rehabilitation program.

In additional posts I’ll wrap up this discussion on FM! Until then wishing you joy and health.

Published by Colleen Murphy Whiteford

I am a physiotherapist, graduate of Saint Louis University Class of 1984. I married my best friend and business partner, Bill, who is also a physiotherapist, in 1988. We have worked together all these years - an example of God's grace! Together we started Appalachian Physical Therapy which continues to thrive. I am a big believer in the power of touch, the manual therapies, and treating holistically. There are many alternatives to medications, surgeries, and testing, but people are often uninformed. My perspective emphasizes the role of the connective tissues including the fascia. Lack of attention to this structure is the source of many physical ailments - our bodies are truly fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139)! I am passionate about helping people of all ages and diagnoses maximize their health, and empowering them to understand their role in management and prevention of problems.

2 thoughts on “Are There Articles & Research That Show Fascial Manipulation is Effective?

  1. Thanks for sharing your knowledge! I can attest to the benefits of FM . . . Betty

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