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T1ρ-Mapping for Musculoskeletal Pain Diagnosis: Case Series of Variation of Water Bound Glycosaminoglycans Quantification before and after Fascial Manipulation® in Subjects with Elbow Pain

Rajiv G. Menon 1, Stephen F. Oswald 2, Preeti Raghavan 3, Ravinder R. Regatte 1 and Antonio Stecco 4

Abstract: Diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal pain is a major clinical challenge. Following this need, the first aim of our study was to provide an innovative magnetic resonance technique called T1ρ to quantify possible alterations in elbow pain, a common musculoskeletal pain syndrome that has not a clear etiology. Five patients were recruited presenting chronic elbow pain (>3 months), with an age between 30 and 70 years old. Patients underwent two T1ρ-mapping evaluations, one before and one after the series of Fascial Manipulation® (FM) treatments. After the first MRI evaluation, a Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaire was administered to quantify the symptoms and pain intensity. Patients then received three sessions of FM, once a week for 40 min each. A statistically significant difference was found between bound and unbound water concentration before and after FM treatment. Our preliminary data suggest that the application of the manual method seems to decrease the concentration of unbound water inside the deep fascia in the most chronic patients. This could explain the change in viscosity perceived by many practitioners as well as the decrease of symptoms due to the restoration of the normal property of the loose connective tissue. Being able to identify an altered deep fascial area may better guide therapies, contributing to a more nuanced view of the mechanisms of pain.

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