Clinicians' perspective of the current diagnostic criteria for myofascial pain syndrome Journal Articles uri icon

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  • INTRODUCTION: Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is one of the most common chronic musculoskeletal pain disorders. However, MPS is often under-diagnosed. The purpose of this study was to characterize practicing clinicians' perspectives of the current diagnostic criteria for MPS. METHODS: A cross-sectional study design was used with a self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire evaluated clinicians' perspective of the current diagnostic criteria for MPS. The sample population (n= 119) consisted of 40% family physicians, 31% physical medicine (PM) and rehabilitation specialists, 11% rheumatologists, 10% emergency room (ER) physicians, and 8% anesthesiologists specializing in chronic pain. RESULTS: Our findings demonstrated that participating clinicians agree that ``point tenderness'' and ``pain reproduction'' are criteria for MPS. In contrast, the clinicians do not consider ``autonomic symptoms'' as an important criterion for MPS. The anesthesiologists view ``restricted range of motion'' as a criterion for MPS more than the other groups, and they tend to consider ``referred pain'' and ``pain reproduction'' as criteria. Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists and anesthesiologists tend to view ``local twitch response'' more as a criterion for MPS compared with the other groups. Most groups of clinicians consider ``weakness without atrophy'' as an important MPS criterion except for family physicians. It is important to note that ``poor sleep'', ``daytime fatigue'' and ``cognitive symptoms'', which are not considered as MPS symptoms, are often mistaken for MPS among practicing clinicians. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that the diagnostic criteria are not well known, highlighting the need for an expert consensus to determine the importance of each criterion for MPS diagnosis.


  • Grosman-Rimon, Liza
  • Clarke, Hance
  • Chan, Aaron K
  • Mills, Patricia Branco
  • Rathbone, Alasdair Timothy Llewelyn
  • Kumbhare, Dinesh A

publication date

  • May 5, 2017