The influence of positional release therapy on the myofascial tension of the upper trapezius muscle

Francisco José Saavedra, Maria Teresa Cordeiro, José Vilaça Alves, Helder Miguel Fernandes, Victor Machado Reis, Daniela Gardano Bucharles Mont'Alverni




The objective of this study was to analyze the influence of positional release therapy (PRT) on the myofascial tension of the upper trapezius muscle with an active myofascial trigger point (TrP). We studied 30 subjects (18 men and 12 women), mean age 34.5 ± 9.4 years, with an active TrP in the upper trapezius muscle on one side. A search for TrPs was performed bilaterally and the points were considered to be active when both local and referred pain evoked by manual palpation reproduced a deep aching and burning pain. The patients were evaluated under three conditions: (a) resting baseline, (b) concentric contraction and (c) isometric contraction, before and after treatment with PRT, regarding the following parameters: (i) pain intensity during manual palpation (visual analogue pain scale) and (ii) upper trapezius muscle electromyographic (EMG) signals. A significant decrease in painful symptoms from 5.3 ± 1.9 to 2.8 ± 1.8 (p< 0.001) was observed after treatment. There were no significant differences in EMG signals during resting baseline and in the presence of concentric contraction after the PRT session. It was concluded that PRT may be an effective treatment for pain relief and to reduce resting baseline EMG signals in the upper trapezius muscle with a TrP, suggesting that its use as an alternative or an adjunct to other therapies. The effectiveness of this type of treatment should be confirmed by further clinical studies.


Electromyography; Myofascial pain syndromes; Trigger points

Full Text:



The abbreviated title of the journal is Rev. Bras. Cineantropom. Desempenho Hum, which should be used in bibliographies, footnotes and bibliographical references. E-ISSN 1980-0037, impressa ISSN 1415-8426, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, BrazilThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Atribuição 3.0 Unported License.