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24-10-2011 | Internal medicine | Article

Thoracic mobilization may be useful for treatment of respiratory disorders

Abstract

Free abstract

MedWire News: Thoracic mobilization techniques can improve spirometric parameters in healthy individuals, Brazilian researchers report.

The team found that three chest and neck pompage mobilization techniques increased forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume at the first second (FEV1), and peak expiratory flow (PEF) in healthy adults aged 17-30 years.

Pompage is a mobilization technique that aims to "minimize osteomyoarticular restrictions, which are thought to prevent fascial movement," explain Vitor Valenti (Federal University of São Paulo) and team.

"Mobilization promotes muscle relaxation (eg decreased spasm and muscle stiffness) and provides pain relief and increased range of motion," they say. In addition, it may influence the respiratory skeletal muscles because of the "similar structural, electrical, and functional characteristics compared with other skeletal muscles that are exposed to curtailments and imbalance."

To investigate whether chest pompage has a biomechanical effect on muscles related to respiratory function, Valenti and team evaluated spirometric parameters in 100 healthy adults before and after three mobilization techniques.

The techniques used were fascia global mobilization, scalene muscle mobilization, and sternocleido-occipital-mastoid muscle mobilization. Each was performed six times.

The researchers observed significant 3.0%, 1.5%, and 3.6% increases in FVC, FEV1, PEF, respectively, after the mobilization techniques. Specifically, FVC increased from 3.360 to 3.460 L, FEV1 increased from 3.212 to 3.260 L, and PEF increased from 6.421 to 6.655 L/s.

Furthermore, the Tiffeneau index (the ratio of FEV1 to FVC) was reduced by 1.7% after mobilization.

Commenting on their findings Valenti et al suggest that these techniques may be helpful in the treatment and management of respiratory disorders, as well as causing subjective gains in breathing and overall comfort.

However, the authors note that the statistical significance reported in their study does not necessarily reflect clinical significance, because of the healthy status of the study participants.

They conclude: "Future studies will be necessary to investigate the effects of pompage mobilization techniques on spirometric parameters in subjects with respiratory disorders."

By Nikki Withers

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