Tensiomyography, sonoelastography, and mechanosensitivity differences between active, latent, and control low back myofascial trigger points: A cross-sectional study

Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Mar;96(10):e6287. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000006287.


The myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is considered the most common musculoskeletal condition. The lumbopelvic pain (LPP) is established as one of the most prevalent musculoskeletal disorders. Nevertheless, previous research has not yet studied the contractibility changes by tensiomyography between myofascial trigger point (MTrP) types and normal tissue. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the tensiomyography, sonoelastography, and pressure pain threshold (PPT) differences between the palpation area of active and latent MTrPs with regards to control points in the lumbar erector spinae muscles of subjects with LPP. A cross-sectional descriptive study was performed. A convenience sample of 60 points (20 active MTrPs, 20 latent MTrPs, and 20 control points) was registered bilaterally in the lumbar erector spinae muscles from subjects with nonspecific LPP. The palpation order of active MTrPs, latent MTrPs, or control points was randomized for each side. The outcome assessors were blinded to the order or point type. The outcome measurements order for each point was sonoelastography manual strain index, tensiomyography, and PPT, separated by 15 minutes. Five contractile objective parameters were: maximal radial displacement (Dm), contraction time (Tc), sustain time (Ts), delay time (Td), and half-relaxation time (Tr). Tensiomyography parameters did not show any statistically significant difference (P > 0.05) between active MTrPs, latent MTrPs, and control points. Nevertheless, PPT and sonoelastography showed statistically significant differences (P < 0.05) between all point types, except for active and latent MTrPs PPT comparison (P = 0.091). Regarding the active MTrPs, a moderate positive correlation was observed between PPT and Dm (P = 0.047; τB = 0.450). Considering the control points, a moderate positive correlation was shown between sonoelastography and Td (P = 0.044; τB = 0.328). The tensiomyography contractile properties did not seem to show differences, while the sonoelastography and mechanosensitivity presented a higher stiffness and a lower PPT, respectively, between the palpation area of active and latent MTrPs with regards to control points in the lumbar erector spinae muscles of subjects with LPP. Considering the correlations, further research is needed regarding the muscle contractile properties modifications under MPS treatments, especially Dm in active MTrPs and Td in normal sites.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Myography*
  • Trigger Points*
  • Young Adult