Publications by authors named "Ebonie K Rio"

4 Publications

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Does isometric exercise result in exercise induced hypoalgesia in people with local musculoskeletal pain? A systematic review.

Phys Ther Sport 2021 May 19;49:51-61. Epub 2020 Sep 19.

La Trobe Sports and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address:

Objective: The aim of this review was to investigate if exercise induced hypoalgesia (EIH) occurs following isometric muscle contraction in people with local musculoskeletal symptoms.

Design: Systematic review.

Data Sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL & SportDiscus electronic databases were searched (inception to April 2020).

Eligibility Criteria: Two authors independently evaluated eligibility. Randomised controlled and crossover (repeated measures) trials that measured the effects of isometric exercise in participants with localised musculoskeletal pain during, and up to 2 hours after isometric exercise were included. Other inclusion criteria included comparison to another intervention, or comparison to healthy controls. Primary outcomes were experimentally induced pain thresholds and secondary outcomes included measures of pain sensitivity from clinical testing.

Results: 13 studies with data from 346 participants were included for narrative synthesis. EIH was reported in some upper and lower limb studies but there were no consistent data to show isometric exercises were superior to comparison interventions.

Conclusion: There was no consistent evidence for EIH following isometric exercise in people with musculoskeletal pain. These findings are different to those reported in asymptomatic populations (where EIH is consistently demonstrated) as well as conditions associated with widespread symptoms such as fibromyalgia (where isometric exercise may induce hyperalgesia). Although well tolerated when prescribed, isometric exercise did not induce EIH consistently for people seeking care for local musculoskeletal symptoms. The variance in the dose, location of contraction and intensity of protocols included in this review may explain the inconsistent findings. Further work is required to better understand endogenous analgesia in musculoskeletal pain conditions.
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May 2021

Do people with unilateral mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy who participate in running-related physical activity exhibit a meaningful conditioned pain modulation (CPM) effect: a pilot study.

J Sci Med Sport 2021 May 4;24(5):441-447. Epub 2020 Nov 4.

School of Physiotherapy, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, WA, Australia.

Objectives: Our primary objective was to report the presence of a conditioned pain modulation (CPM) effect in people with localised mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy and whether changes occur over a 12-week period. Our secondary objectives were to quantify the proportion of participants who present for tendinopathy research with previous interventions or co-morbidities, which may impact the CPM-effect and investigate modulating factors.

Design: Prospective, observational cohort pilot study.

Method: 215 participants presented for this Achilles tendinopathy research and were screened for inclusion with nine being included. Included participants had the CPM-effect (cold-pressor test) assessed using pressure pain thresholds at the Achilles tendon and quantified as absolute, relative and meaningful change at baseline and 12-week follow-up.

Results: The most common reasons for exclusion were failure to meet a load-related diagnosis for Achilles tendinopathy (15.5%), presence of confounding other injury (14.1%) and previous injection therapy (13.6%). All participants had a meaningful CPM-effect at baseline and 12-week follow-up. The mean (SD, n) baseline relative CPM effect (reduction in PPTs) was -40.5 (32.7, 9) percent. Moderators of the CPM-effect as well as follow-up changes were not statistically analysed due to a small sample size.

Conclusion: Based on these data, we would suggest that a homogenous population of patients with chronic, unilateral mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy and no other co-morbidities are likely to exhibit a meaningful CPM-effect. Impairments to endogenous analgesic mechanisms seen in people presenting with mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy may be due to other confounding variables.
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May 2021

Effect of Pain Education and Exercise on Pain and Function in Chronic Achilles Tendinopathy: Protocol for a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Randomized Trial.

JMIR Res Protoc 2020 Nov 3;9(11):e19111. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States.

Background: Achilles tendinopathy (AT) rehabilitation traditionally includes progressive tendon loading exercises. Recent evidence suggests a biopsychosocial approach that incorporates patient education on psychosocial factors and mechanisms of pain can reduce pain and disability in individuals with chronic pain. This is yet to be examined in individuals with AT.

Objective: This study aims to compare the effects on movement-evoked pain and self-reported function of pain education as part of a biopsychosocial approach with pathoanatomical education for people with AT when combined with a progressive tendon loading exercise program.

Methods: A single-site, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial will be conducted in a university-based hospital in a laboratory setting and/or by telehealth. A total of 66 participants with chronic (>3 months) midportion or insertional AT will be randomized for the Tendinopathy Education of the Achilles (TEAch) study. All participants will complete progressive Achilles tendon loading exercises over 12 weeks and will be encouraged to continue with self-selected exercises as tolerated. All participants will complete 6-7 one-to-one sessions with a physical therapist to progress exercises in a standardized manner over 8 weeks. During the last 4 weeks of the intervention, participants will be encouraged to maintain their home exercise program. Participants will be randomized to 1 of 2 types of education (pain education or pathoanatomic), in addition to exercise. Pain education will focus on the biological and psychological mechanisms of pain within a biopsychosocial framing of AT. Pathoanatomic education will focus on biological processes within a more traditional biomedical framework of AT. Evaluation sessions will be completed at baseline and 8-week follow-up, and self-reported outcome measures will be completed at the 12-week follow-up. Both groups will complete progressive Achilles loading exercises in 4 phases throughout the 12 weeks and will be encouraged to continue with self-selected exercises as tolerated. Primary outcomes are movement-evoked pain during heel raises and self-reported function (patient-reported outcome measure information system-Physical Function). Secondary outcomes assess central nervous system nociceptive processing, psychological factors, motor function, and feasibility.

Results: Institutional review board approval was obtained on April 15, 2019, and study funding began in July 2019. As of March 2020, we randomized 23 out of 66 participants. In September 2020, we screened 267 individuals, consented 68 participants, and randomized 51 participants. We anticipate completing the primary data analysis by March 2022.

Conclusions: The TEAch study will evaluate the utility of pain education for those with AT and the effects of improved patient knowledge on pain, physical function, and clinical outcomes.

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/19111.
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November 2020

Don't Assume the Control Group Is Normal-People with Asymptomatic Tendon Pathology Have Higher Pressure Pain Thresholds.

Pain Med 2018 11;19(11):2267-2273

University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise (UCRISE), Australia.

Objective: Pain pressure thresholds (PPT) are used to study peripheral and central pain processing. In the tendon, pathological changes may exist without pain. This pilot study aimed to compare PPT between individuals with normal tendons and asymptomatic tendon pathology, and between individuals with and without a history of tendon pain.

Methods: The patellar, Achilles, and supraspinatus tendons of 128 asymptomatic participants were examined with ultrasound. Global PPT average was determined using a digital algometer at the patellar tendon, quadriceps muscle, L3 spinous process, and deltoid muscle insertion. Participants were separated into three groups: (1) healthy control group (no pathology, no history of pain), (2) tendon pathology at any site without a history of pain, (3) history of tendon pain anywhere.

Results: There were 92 controls, seven with asymptomatic pathology and 29 with a history of tendon pain. Asymptomatic tendon pathology at any site (without a history of pain) was associated with globally increased PPTs compared with controls (P < 0.001, pathology N = 7, N = 92 controls). Matched pair analysis remained significant (P < 0.004). A history of tendon pain was associated with globally increased PPTs compared with the control group (P = 0.026). Matched pair analysis was not significant (P = 0.122).

Conclusions: Asymptomatic tendon pathology is associated with higher PPTs. These findings point toward central nervous system adaptations but in a novel way-central desensitization. This challenges the validity of conclusions drawn from PPT studies that do not verify normal structure in the control group; artificial inflation of control group data may incorrectly indicate decreased PPTs in the comparison group.
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November 2018