2019 Volume 61 Issue 1 Pages 36-44
Assessment and treatment of masticatory myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) are not standardized and remain controversial. We examined whether muscle hardness was useful for evaluating masticatory MPS and analyzed the effectiveness of treatments such as stretching and massage (SM) and trigger point injection (TPI). Twenty healthy volunteers and 20 MPS patients were enrolled. MPS patients were divided into TPI and SM treatment groups. Hardness of masticatory muscle with a taut band (TB) and change in hardness were evaluated after SM and TPI treatments. Hardness values were significantly higher in muscle including a TB (TB point) than in the muscle of healthy controls. Visual analogue scale scores were significantly lower after SM and TPI treatments, and hardness of the TB point was significantly lower after SM but not after TPI. These results suggest that measurement of muscle hardness, including the TB, is useful for evaluating masticatory MPS. However, TPI analgesia might not be caused by change in muscle hardness. The mechanisms underlying the effects of SM and TPI on reducing pain in MPS may differ and thus warrant further research.