Several studies investigating myofascial pain syndrome include assessments of range of motion (ROM) as a diagnostic criterion. However, the value of ROM in this context has not yet been evaluated in controlled clinical studies. We aimed to examine whether patients with myofascial pain syndrome display alterations of ROM when compared to healthy subjects. Twenty-two individuals (13 females, 9 males; aged 33.4 ± 13.9 yrs) afflicted with active myofascial trigger points in the upper trapezius muscle as well as 22 age and sex matched healthy controls were included. All subjects underwent an examination of maximal active cervical ROM in flexion/extension assessed by means of a 3D ultrasonic movement analysis system (30 Hz; Zebris CMS 70). In the patients group, pressure pain threshold (PPT) of the trigger points was determined using a pressure algometer. Maximum range of motion in the sagittal plane did not differ between individuals with MTrP (125.9 ± 23.2°, 95% CI: 116.2-135.6°) and asymptomatic subjects (128.2 ± 20.4°, 95% CI: 119.7-136.7°; p > .05). In patients, PPT (1.7 ± .6, 95% CI: 1.5-1.9) was not correlated with cervical mobility (r = -.13; p > .05). Based on these pilot data, range of motion in flexion/extension is not a valid criterion for the detection of myofascial trigger points. Additional research incorporating movement amplitudes in other anatomical planes and additional afflicted muscles should be conducted in order to further delineate the relative impact of MTrP on range of motion.
Keywords: Diagnosis; Flexibility; Trigger points.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.