Scalene Myofascial Pain Syndrome (SMPS) – Misdiagnosed Neck Pain

27th January 2020 1 min read


Scalene pain is a relatively common condition; however, it is frequently misdiagnosed. Deep within the neck there is an area known as the anterior Triangle. It is in this area that 3 Scalene muscles reside. These muscles originate from your cervical spine and insert into your first and second ribs.

The muscles function to elevate your ribs, tilt your neck and assist in breathing. When these muscles become irritated, they tend to cause localised and referred pain. Areas commonly affected are the neck, shoulder, arm, hand, shoulder blade and chest.

What are the causes of SMPS?

Chronic muscle overuse, poor posture and repetitive microtrauma are some of the leading primary causes of this condition.

Why is SMPS often misdiagnosed?

There are many other conditions known to cause localised and referred pain similar to that of SMPS. Such conditions include cervical disk prolapse, spinal stenosis and thoracic outlet syndrome. Misdiagnosis often leads to mismanagement, which leads to persistent pain and suffering.

What are the long-term implications of SMPS?

Poor management of the condition ultimately leads to weak and stiff muscles. Thus, it can significantly impact on a person’s level of daily activity and quality of life.

Treatment and management

The principle management of SMPS consists of an advanced massage technique known as Trigger Point Therapy. However, other treatment methods are used to eradicate this condition. For example; stretching, deep tissue massage and heat therapy.

PAYGT is able to offer a selection of personal training and different treatment options that aim to treat an array of different soft tissue injuries and or disorders. To make an appointment please contact us or visit our clinics section.