Ann Med. 2023;55(2):2252442. doi: 10.1080/07853890.2023.2252442.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the differences in the viscoelastic properties between normal trapezius muscles and those in patients with trapezius myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) using real-time shear-wave elastography (SWE).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study included 31 patients with trapezius MPS and 31 volunteers. Sixty-one trapezius muscles (41 and 20 on the affected and non-affected side, respectively) of patients with MPS and 62 normal trapezius muscles in volunteers were assessed. Conventional ultrasonic parameters, including skeletal muscle thickness, resistance index (RI), and mean shear wave velocity (SWVmean) of trapezius muscles, were obtained in the seated position with the shoulders and neck relaxed. The daily neck leaning time (unit:hours) of all participants was obtained using a questionnaire.
RESULTS: Ultrasound showed no statistically significant differences in thickness or RI of the trapezius muscles of the affected and non-affected sides in MPS patients versus normal trapezius muscles (p = 0.976 and 0.106, respectively). In contrast, the SWVmean of trapezius muscles in patients with MPS was significantly higher than that of normal trapezius muscles in both the affected and non-affected sides (4.41 ± 1.02 m/s vs. 3.35 ± 0.79 m/s, p < 0.001; 4.05 ± 0.63 m/s vs. 3.35 ± 0.79 m/s, p = 0.002). There was no significant difference between the SWVmean of the trapezius muscles on the affected and non-affected sides in patients with MPS (4.41 ± 1.02 m/s vs. 4.05 ± 0.63 m/s, p = 0.225). Correlation analysis showed that daily neck forward time was positively correlated with the SWVmean of the trapezius muscles on the affected and non-affected sides in patients with MPS (r = 0.635, p < 0.001; r = 0.576, p = 0.008).
CONCLUSION: SWE can quantitatively evaluate stiffness of trapezius muscles in patients with trapezius MPS. The stiffness of both affected and non-affected trapezius muscles increased in patients with trapezius MPS, and the degree of increase positively correlated with the time of cervical forward leaning.