Identification and quantification of myofascial taut bands with magnetic resonance elastography
Three articles on PainSci cite Chen 2007: 1. The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain 2. Toxic Muscle Knots 3. The Trigger Point Identity Crisis
PainSci commentary on Chen 2007: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.
This paper demonstrates the use of a promising new method of imaging the taut bands of muscle associated with myofascial trigger points, using a modification of MRI technology. It is thoroughly analyzed by Simons, who writes that this technology “may open a whole new chapter in the centuries-old search for a convincing demonstration of the cause of MTP symptoms.”
This was a small proof-of-concept experiment, testing the technology on gelatin models and then two subjects. They continued with more subjects in 2008 (see Chen et al).
~ Paul Ingraham
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the feasibility of using a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique--magnetic resonance elastography (MRE)--to identify and quantitate the nature of myofascial taut bands.
DESIGN: This investigation consisted of 3 steps. The first involved proof of concept on gel phantoms, the second involved numeric modeling, and the third involved a pilot trial on 2 subjects. Imaging was performed with a 1.5 T MRI machine. Shear waves were produced with a custom-developed acoustically driven pneumatic transducer with gradient-echo image collection gated to the transducer's motion. Shear wave propagation were imaged by MRE.
SETTING: An MRI research laboratory.
PARTICIPANTS: Two women, one with a 3-year history of myofascial pain and the other serving as the control.
INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: MRE images, finite element analysis calculations, and tissue and phantom stiffness determinations.
RESULTS: Results of the phantom measurements, finite element calculations, and study patients were all consistent with the concept that taut bands are detectable and quantifiable with MRE imaging. The findings in the subjects suggest that the stiffness of the taut bands (9.0+/-0.9 KPa) in patients with myofascial pain may be 50% greater than that of the surrounding muscle tissue.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that MRE can quantitate asymmetries in muscle tone that could previously only be identified subjectively by examination.
- “Microscopic features and transient contraction of palpable bands in canine muscle,” Simons et al, Am J Phys Med, 1976.
- “Endplate potentials are common to midfiber myofacial trigger points,” Simons et al, Am J Phys Med Rehabil, 2002.
- “Accelerated muscle fatigability of latent myofascial trigger points in humans,” Ge et al, Pain Med, 2012.
- “Two-dimensional ultrasound and ultrasound elastography imaging of trigger points in women with myofascial pain syndrome treated by acupuncture and electroacupuncture: a double-blinded randomized controlled pilot study,” Müller et al, Ultrason Imaging, 2015.
- “Induction of muscle cramps by nociceptive stimulation of latent myofascial trigger points,” Ge et al, Exp Brain Res, 2008.
- “Assessment of myofascial trigger points (MTrPs): a new application of ultrasound imaging and vibration sonoelastography,” Sikdar et al, Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc, 2008.
- “Uncovering the biochemical milieu of myofascial trigger points using in vivo microdialysis: an application of muscle pain concepts to myofascial pain syndrome,” Shah et al, Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies, 2008.
- “Ability of magnetic resonance elastography to assess taut bands,” Chen et al, Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon), 2008.
Specifically regarding Chen 2007:
- “New Views of Myofascial Trigger Points: Etiology and Diagnosis,” Simons, Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 2008.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation. Suri 2010 Spine J.
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations. Pople 1994 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.
- Is there a relationship between throbbing pain and arterial pulsations? Mirza 2012 J Neurosci.