Effect of Myofascial Therapy on Pain and Functionality of the Upper Extremities in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Apr 21;18(9):4420. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18094420.


(1) Objective: The purpose was to analyze the effectiveness of myofascial therapy on musculoskeletal pain and functionality of the upper extremities in female breast cancer survivors, and to evaluate the changes in range of motion, quality of life, and mood state of these patients. (2) Methods: Systematic searches were performed on the MEDLINE/PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and Physiotherapy Evidence Databases for articles published until October 2020, in order to identify randomized controlled trials which analyzed the effectiveness of myofascial therapy as compared to a control group, passive treatment, placebo, or another intervention, and allowed co-interventions on female breast cancer survivors. Two reviewers examined the sources individually, calculated the risk of bias and extracted the data (PROSPERO number CRD42020215823). (3) Results: A total of eight RCTs were included. The results suggested that myofascial therapy does not have a greater statistically significant immediate effect on pain intensity (SMD: -0.15; 95% CI -0.48, 0.19), functionality (SMD: -0.17; 95% CI -0.43, 0.09) and range of motion in flexion (SMD: 0.30; 95% CI -0.13, 0.74) than an inactive, passive treatment or another intervention. However, a statistically significant result was observed for the abduction shoulder in favor of the experimental group (SMD: 0.46; 95% CI 0.05, 0.87; p = 0.03). (4) Conclusion: In general, although we found greater overall effects in support of the intervention with myofascial therapy than other control groups/types of interventions, the subgroup analysis revealed inconsistent results supporting myofascial therapy applied to breast cancer survivors.

PMID:33919315 | DOI:10.3390/ijerph18094420