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Ultrasound Confirmation of the Multiple Loci Hypothesis of the Myofascial Trigger Point and the Diagnostic Importance of Specificity in the Elicitation of the Local Twitch Response

Diagnostics (Basel). 2022 Jan 27;12(2):321. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics12020321.


The literature has hypothesized that a trigger point (TrP) area consists of a hyperperfused contracture knot with smaller hypoperfused TrPs within the contracture knot. By contrast, the only published ultrasound image of a TrP has it labeled hypoechoic (i.e., hyperperfused) with no commentary regarding smaller speckles of hypoperfusion within. Furthermore, the lack of clarity in objective definition of the terms associated with the TrP (namely, the palpable “contracture knot” and smaller nonpalpable “trigger point”) has led to unnecessary communication difficulties between and among clinicians and researchers. In this case series of three muscles across two patients, by using high-definition musculoskeletal ultrasound imaging technology, we present what we believe to be the first reliable capture of palpable hypoechoic (e.g., hypoperfused) contracture knots (previously mislabeled as a hypoechoic TrP), and a visual support of the multiple loci hypothesis first proposed by Hong and Simons-the first reliable confirmation of the hyperechoic (i.e., hypoperfused) TrP within. Initially proposed by a histological study and supported by microdialysis study, this case series lends further support for the multiple loci hypothesis through visual confirmation of palpable hypoechoic contracture knots, with smaller hypoechoic TrPs “speckles” within.

PMID:35204411 | DOI:10.3390/diagnostics12020321


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