Quantitative Ultrasound Texture Feature Changes With Conservative Treatment of the Trapezius Muscle in Female Patients With Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2021 Nov 1;100(11):1054-1061. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001697.


Objective: We set out to assess whether quantitative ultrasound could be used to assess changes that occur after physical therapy in patients experiencing myofascial pain syndrome.

Methods: We consecutively recruited female subjects experiencing myofascial pain syndrome of the neck and shoulder region and provided 10 sessions of conservative physical therapy. A control group was recruited for textural analyses. We measured change in pain ratings, range of motion, and ultrasound texture features before and after the intervention and after 3 mos.

Results: We recruited 63 female myofascial pain syndrome subjects and 20 healthy controls. After treatment, the mean blob size (an ultrasound texture feature) value for each subject decreased from 30.84 ± 5.00 to 25.86 ± 5.67 on the right and decreased from 31.70 ± 5.51 to 28.08 ± 5.53 on the left (P < 0.0005). The blob count showed a significant increase only on the left side (P < 0.01). Corresponding to this were reductions in pain and disability scores after treatment and at 3 mos compared with retreatment (P < 0.0005 for all checkpoints). Cervical range of motion values were significantly increased only at 3 mos compared with pretreatment except for mean flexion range of motion.

Conclusions: Ultrasound texture feature of blob size and count changes correspond to routine clinical outcomes after conservative physical therapy of myofascial pain syndrome in female individuals.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03571178.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Conservative Treatment / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / diagnostic imaging*
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Superficial Back Muscles / diagnostic imaging*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography / methods*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03571178