A critical appraisal of "Augmented soft tissue mobilization vs natural history in the treatment of lateral epicondylitis: a pilot study by Marc-Andr� Blanchette, DC, MSC, and Martin C. Normand, DC, PHD"




Smith, Dillon

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Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization or IASTM/ASTM is a relatively new treatment for the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. This critical review sought to identify if IASTM can decrease pain and recovery time in subjects with musculoskeletal injuries compared to traditional treatment protocol. A database search was done to find studies that looked at the use of IASTM for treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. The selected study was Augmented Soft Tissue Mobilization vs Natural History in the Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis: A Pilot Study Blanchette et al. In this study, the researchers compared education on LE as a control to an ASTM group. They found significant differences in the pain measurements in the ASTM group. However, there was one clinician that provided all treatments and data collection which allowed for potential bias to influence the results. As well, there was a significant difference between the time since onset of symptoms in the two groups, which could have affected the potential improvement in the control group. Because of the potential bias and initial difference, this study should not be used as a stand-alone reason to perform ASTM on a patient, but serves as a starting point for a follow up study with a stronger design to prevent potential bias.