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Imaging Technique Detects Taut Bands in Myofascial Pain

Magnetic resonance imaging technique detects areas of increased muscle tone

FRIDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A new MRI technique known as magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) can detect and quantify areas of increased muscle tone (taut bands) in a patient with myofascial pain, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Qingshan Chen, and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., tested the ability of MRE to identify and quantitate the nature of myofascial taut bands. They first tested the technique using gel phantoms and numeric modeling, followed by a pilot trial involving a woman with a three-year history of myofascial pain and a matched control patient.

The researchers found that taut bands were detectable and quantifiable by MRE imaging. In the patient with myofascial pain, they found that the stiffness of the taut bands could be 50 percent higher than the surrounding muscle tissue.

"Our findings suggest that MRE can quantitate asymmetries in muscle tone that could previously only be identified subjectively by examination," Chen and colleagues conclude.

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