Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is one of the most common causes of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Several methods have been recommended for the inactivation of trigger points (TrPs). This study was carried out to investigate the effectiveness of miniscalpel-needle (MSN) release and acupuncture needling and self neck-stretching exercises on myofascial TrPs of the upper trapezius muscle. Eighty-three TrPs in 43 patients with MPS were treated and randomly assigned to 3 groups: group 1 received MSN release in conjunction with self neck-stretching exercises; group 2 received acupuncture needling treatment and performed self neck-stretching exercises; and group 3, the control group, was assigned self neck-stretching exercises only. The therapeutic effectiveness was evaluated using subjective pain intensity (PI) with a visual analog scale, pressure pain threshold (PPT), and contralateral bending range of motion (ROM) of cervical spine at pretreatment, 2 weeks, and 3 months after treatment. The improvement of PI, PPT, and contralateral bending ROM of cervical spine was significantly greater in group 1 and 2 than that in control group at 2 weeks and 3 months follow-up. Compared with group 2, patients in group 1 had a statistically significant reduction in PI, an increase in PPT, contralateral bending ROM of cervical spine at 3 months follow-up.
The effectiveness of MSN release for MPS is superior to that of acupuncture needling treatment or self neck-stretching exercises alone. The MSN release is also safe, without severe side effects in treatment of MPS.
Ma C, Wu S, Li G, Xiao X, Mai M, Yan T. Comparison of miniscalpel-needle release, acupuncture needling, and stretching exercise to trigger point in myofascial pain syndrome. Clin J Pain. 2010 Mar-Apr;26(3):251-7