Association of active myofascial trigger points and cervical disc lesions

Tse Chieh Hsueh, Sunny Yu, Da-Shen Kuan, Chang Zern Hong

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We investigated the occurrence of active myofascial trigger points in specific muscle groups in relation to the existence of cervical disc bulging at various levels. One hundred and five patients (48 men, 57 women; mean age, 45.8 ± 12.1 yr) who had active trigger points in the neck or upper back after trauma were divided into two groups on the basis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evidence of bulging disc(s). The disc(N) group consisted of 46 patients who had normal MRI findings in the cervical spine. The other 59 patients, with mild cervical disc bulging, were assigned to the disc+ group. The correlations between specific muscles with active trigger points (clinical finding) and cervical disc lesions at specific levels (MRI finding) were analyzed. There were significant associations between the level of disc lesion and the muscles with trigger points, namely C3-4 lesions with levator scapulae and latissimus dorsi trigger points; C4-5 lesions with splenius capitis, levator scapulae, and rhomboid minor trigger points; C5-6 lesions with splenius capitis, deltoid, levator scapulae, rhomboid minor, and latissimus dorsi trigger points; and C6-7 lesions with latissimus dorsi and rhomboid minor trigger points. For each disc level, the average pain intensity (assessed using a numerical analog scale) of trigger points in certain correlated muscles (as indicated above) in the disc+ group was significantly higher than that in the disc(N) group (p < 0.05 for all disc levels). We conclude that active trigger points are more likely to occur in certain muscles in the presence of cervical disc lesions at specific levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-180
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Mar 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

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