Characteristics of Myofascial Pain Syndrome of the Infraspinatus Muscle

Ann Rehabil Med. 2017 Aug;41(4):573-581. doi: 10.5535/arm.2017.41.4.573. Epub 2017 Aug 31.


Objective: To report the characteristics of myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) in the infraspinatus muscle and evaluate the therapeutic effect of trigger-point injections.

Methods: Medical records of 297 patients (221 women; age, 53.9±11.3 years) with MTrPs in the infraspinatus muscle were reviewed retrospectively. Because there were 83 patients with MTrPs in both infraspinatus muscles, the characteristics of total 380 infraspinatus muscles with MTrPs (214 one side, 83 both sides) were investigated. Specific characteristics collected included chief complaint area, referred pain pattern, the number of local twitch responses, and distribution of MTrPs in the muscle. For statistical analysis, the paired t-test was used to compare a visual analogue scale (VAS) before and 2 weeks after the first injection.

Results: The most common chief complaint area of MTrPs in the infraspinatus muscle was the scapular area. The most common pattern of referred pain was the anterolateral aspect of the arm (above the elbow). Active MTrPs were multiple rather than single in the infraspinatus muscle. MTrPs were frequently in the center of the muscle. Trigger-point injection of the infraspinatus muscle significantly decreased the pain intensity. Mean VAS score decreased significantly after the first injection compared to the baseline (7.11 vs. 3.74; p<0.001).

Conclusion: Characteristics of MTrPs and the therapeutic effects of trigger-point injections of the infraspinatus muscle were assessed. These findings could provide clinicians with useful information in diagnosing and treating myofascial pain syndrome of the infraspinatus muscle.

Keywords: Infraspinatus; Injections; Myofascial pain syndromes; Pain; Trigger points.