Myofascial Pain Syndrome is a musculoskeletal condition that is very painful. It affects the neck, back, and shoulders and involves trigger points. These “trigger points” are actually small lumps in the muscle that when pressed on, are very tender and painful.
Back several years ago, I was being treated for myofascial pain – this was before my Fibromyalgia diagnosis. The treatment was more painful than the condition. The doctor would find these trigger points and give me a shot directly into the trigger point. Sometimes he would miss because of how the knots can move and he would have to do it again. It was a very agonizing procedure.
It is estimated that approximately 9 million people live with myofascial pain syndrome with many of these people also having Fibromyalgia. Myofascial pain syndrome and Fibromyalgia are two distinctly different illnesses, however. Fibromyalgia is more widespread pain in the muscles and tissues with fatigue and other symptoms. Myofascial pain syndrome is a more localized syndrome associated with trigger point tenderness.
Mayo Clinic has developed a new imaging technology that shows promise for a definitive diagnosis for myfascial pain syndrome and with diagnosis comes future treatments.
Mayo Clinic’s new wonder technology is called MRE, or magnetic resonance elastography. A MRE provides images of the affected muscles with clarity that is not possible with MRIs. According to Science Daily News:
While an MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create clear and detailed cross-sectional images of the body’s internal tissues and organs, an MRE measures the elasticity of tissue as it is gently vibrated.
“Additional research is necessary, but our findings in this pilot study provide a strong basis to suspect that MRE technology can identify changes in muscle tone and stiffness that could previously only be identified by physical examination by a physician or a therapist,” says Jeffrey Basford, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation and an author of the study. “Prior to these findings, we did not have a good diagnostic test for myofascial pain syndrome.”