A frequent worry is that a herniated disc is causing the pain. If you have back pain and get an MRI, chances are you'll find something. It was reported that at NY Hospital/Weill-Cornell, 90% of the MRIs of the low back of adults were read as abnormal. Common soft tissue problems are not seen on the MRI so we often incorrectly assume that what we see on the image, such as disc herniaton/bulge, degenerated discs, spinal stenosis, facet arthritis, spondylolisthesis, is the cause of the pain. Assuming these diagnoses are the cause of pain without having assessed the possible contribution of painful muscles results in frequent treatment failure. In some studies, more than 50% of back surgeries are unsuccessful, leading to a new diagnosis: failed back surgery syndrome. But most back pain is diagnosed as “Idiopathic /Non-specific”, referring to sprains and strains of soft tissue (such as muscle). Pain in the neck and shoulder, as well, is often caused by muscle, but a thorough physical examination to identify muscles as a source of pain is rarely if ever done.
When pain originating in muscles persists, it may spread to adjacent and distant muscles, making it difficult to identify the source of the pain. Our evaluation involves electrically stimulating one muscle at a time to determine which muscles, if any, are the source of your pain. If muscle fibers are altered, our painless muscle and tendon injection technique (utilizing intravenous medication to prevent discomfort) breaks up the painful muscle tissue, eliminating the source of your pain. Weakness, stiffness, and spasm are managed without injections.