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February 13, 1978

Diagnosis and Therapy of Common Myofascial Syndromes

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Anesthesiology, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson.

JAMA. 1978;239(7):646-648. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280340066029

PHYSICIANS commonly are faced with cervical and lumbar pain problems from antecedent trauma, muscular tension, or postural abnormalities. The common denominator of these conditions is skeletal muscle and ligamentous strain. Pain originating from lesions in these structures, regardless of anatomic localization, has been termed "primary myofascial syndrome." Paramount to the diagnosis of myofascial syndrome is the absence of demonstrable neurologic or orthopedic deficits. In fact, this constellation of pain problems frequently mimics conditions such as herniated cervical and lumbar disks, facet syndromes, fractured transverse processes, thoracic outflow syndrome, and spondylolisthesis. Obviously, therapy for these latter diagnoses is different from that for primary myofascial syndrome, and attention should be given to ruling out such surgically correctable lesions by evaluation of past history, adequate physical examination, and appropriate laboratory and roentgenographic studies.

More than 500 cases of primary myofascial syndrome have been diagnosed and treated in the past six years at the