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bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Wolfe 1992.

The fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndromes: a preliminary study of tender points and trigger points in persons with fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome and no disease


Tags: massage, fibromyalgia, diagnosis, sensitization, muscle pain, trigger points doubts, chronic pain, back pain, manual therapy, treatment, pain problems, neurology, muscle, spine

PainSci summary of Wolfe 1992?This page is one of thousands in the 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 at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

A study of the ability of trigger point experts to find trigger points in patients, with some disappointing results: “Problems with reliability were identified.” Twenty years later, Fred Wolfe describes it more vividly: “These myofascial pain experts were no ordinary examiners. They were the best. They wrote the book, they did the lectures. But, in the end, they could not find or agree on the trigger points. It was a disaster.” (See Travell, Simons and Cargo Cult Science.)

original abstractAbstracts 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.

Four experts on myofascial pain syndrome (MFP) performed trigger point examinations and 4 experts on fibromyalgia performed tender point examinations on 3 groups of subjects (7 patients with fibromyalgia, 8 with MFP, and 8 healthy persons) while blinded as to diagnosis. Local tenderness was common in both disease groups (65-82%), but was elicited in a greater proportion of MFP experts' examinations (82%). Active trigger points were found in about 18% of examinations of patients with fibromyalgia and MFP, but latent trigger points were rare in all groups. A more liberal definition of trigger point, however, resulted in a 38 and 23% positive rate among patients with fibromyalgia and MFP, respectively. Taut muscle bands and muscle twitches were common (50 and 30%, respectively) and noted equally in all 3 diagnostic groups. Problems with reliability were identified for taut bands, muscle twitch, and active trigger points. Our data are exploratory and tentative, but suggest that attention to definition and reliability are required to advance our knowledge of these common syndromes.

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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: