Muscular or myofascial pain is one of the most common sources of pain in body. We commonly treat this type of pain with multiple interventions, including manual therapy, dry needling, and exercise, in our Boulder Physical Therapy and Lafayette Physical Therapy clinics. Our patients often ask about the indications and benefits of using a hand held percussive massage therapy gun on these areas of symptoms. Multiple companies now offer this type of product and their utilization has increased significantly over the past few years. Although a new form of therapy, a recent systematic review was published on the effectiveness of these tools.
Sams and colleagues published their review on the available evidence supporting the use of these hand held treatment devices (Int J Sports PT. 2023). Authors were interested on the impact of these guns on a variety of impairments including muscle strength strength and endurance, flexibility or mobility, and musculoskeletal pain. They included 13 studies of over 250 participants in their review and reported a significant positive relationship between a single treatment using the percussive guns and muscular strength and flexibility. Multiple treatments using the percussive guns were associated with a reduction in muscular pain. Authors of the individual studies utilized different frequencies, measured in Hz, and times varied from 30 seconds up to 90 seconds per muscle group.