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Background: Contractile tissue plays an important role in mobility deficits in frozen shoulder (FS). However, no study has assessed the effect of the muscle release technique on the muscle activation and kinematics in individuals with FS. The purposes of this study were to assess the differences in shoulder muscle activity and kinematics between the FS and asymptomatic groups; and to determine the immediate effects of muscle release intervention in the FS group. Methods: Twenty patients with FS and 20 asymptomatic controls were recruited. The outcome measures included muscle activity of the upper and lower trapezius (UT and LT), infraspinatus (ISp), pectoralis major (PM), and teres major (TM), shoulder kinematics (humeral elevation, scapular posterior tilt (PT) and upward rotation (UR), shoulder mobility, and pain. Participants in the FS group received one-session of heat and manual muscle release. Measurements were obtained at baseline, and immediately after intervention. Multivariate analysis of variance was used for data analysis. The level of significance was set at α=0.05. Results: Compared to the controls, the FS group revealed significantly decreased LT (difference =55.89%, P=0.001) and ISp muscle activity (difference =26.32%, P =0.043) during the scaption task, and increased PM activity (difference =6.31%, P =0.014) during the thumb to waist task. The FS group showed decreased humeral elevation, scapular PT, and UR (difference = 35.36°, 10.18°, 6.73° respectively, P <0.05). Muscle release intervention immediately decreased pain (VAS drop 1.7, P <0.001); improved muscle activity during scaption (UT: 12.68% increase, LT: 35.46% increase, P <0.05) and hand to neck (UT: 12.14% increase, LT: 34.04% increase, P <0.05) task; and increased peak humeral elevation and scapular PT during scaption (95.18°±15.83° to 98.24°±15.57°, P=0.034; 11.06°±3.94° to 14.36°±4.65°, P=0.002), and increased scapular PT during the hand to neck (9.47°±3.86° to 12.80°±8.33°, P=0.025) task. No statistical significance was found for other group comparisons or intervention effect. Conclusion: Patients with FS presented with altered shoulder muscle activity and kinematics, and one-session of heat and manual muscle release showed beneficial effects on shoulder muscle performance, kinematics, mobility, and pain. Trial registration: Retrospectively registered on Jan 18, 2016 (ACTRN 12616000031460).
Shih, Y. F., Liao, P. W., & Lee, C. S. (2017). The immediate effect of muscle release intervention on muscle activity and shoulder kinematics in patients with frozen shoulder: A cross-sectional, exploratory study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-017-1867-8