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The immediate effects of muscle energy technique on posterior shoulder tightness: a randomized controlled trial [with consumer summary]
Moore SD, Laudner KG, McLoda TA, Shaffer MA
The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 2011 Jun;41(6):400-407
clinical trial
6/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: No; Baseline comparability: Yes; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: Yes; Adequate follow-up: Yes; Intention-to-treat analysis: No; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

STUDY DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial. OBJECTIVES: To compare a muscle energy technique (MET) for the glenohumeral joint (GHJ) horizontal abductors and a MET for the GHJ external rotators to improve GHJ range of motion (ROM) in baseball players. BACKGROUND: Overhead athletes often exhibit lost GHJ ROM in internal rotation which has been associated with shoulder pathology. Current stretching protocols aimed at improving flexibility of the posterior shoulder have resulted in inconsistent outcomes. Although utilization of MET has been hypothesized to lengthen tissue, there are limited empirical data describing the effectiveness of such stretches for treating posterior shoulder tightness. METHODS: Sixty-one Division I baseball players were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: MET for the GHJ horizontal abductors (n = 19), MET for the GHJ external rotators (n = 22), and control (n = 20). We measured pre and post-intervention GHJ horizontal adduction and internal rotation ROM. We conducted ANCOVAs, followed by Tukey HSD post hoc analysis for significant group-by-time interactions (p < 0.05). RESULTS: The group treated with the MET for the horizontal abductors had a significantly greater increase in GHJ horizontal adduction ROM post intervention (mean +/- SD: 6.8 degrees +/- 10.5) compared to the control group (1.1 degrees +/- 6.8) (p = 0.011) and greater internal rotation ROM post intervention (4.2 degrees +/- 5.3) compared to the group treated with the MET for the external rotators (0.2 degrees +/- 6.3) (p = 0.020) and the control group (-0.2 degrees +/- 4.0) (p = 0.029). No significant differences among groups were found for any other variables (p > 0.05). CONCLUSION: A single application of a MET for the GHJ horizontal abductors provides immediate improvements in both GHJ horizontal adduction and internal rotation ROM in asymptomatic collegiate baseball players. Application of MET for the horizontal abductors may be useful to gain ROM in overhead athletes.

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