This is very likelihood to be myofascial trigger point. This can be associated with degenerative disc disease in neck (cervical spondylosis) and spinal canal stenosis. Trigger points may develop after an initial injury to muscle fibers. This injury may be a noticeable traumatic event or repetitive microtrauma to the muscles. The trigger point causes pain and stress in the muscle or muscle fiber. As the stress increases, the muscles become fatigued and more susceptible to activation of additional trigger points. When predisposing factors combine with a triggering stress event, activation of a trigger point occurs. Myofascial trigger point is a hyperirritable spot, usually within a taut band of skeletal muscle or in the muscle fascia which is painful on compression. The nerve underneath it can cause radiculopathy symptoms like pain, burning, spasm etc which aggravate on the pressure on the area / point. A steroid shot in it would help. You may consider consulting an orthopedic specialist or MD in physical medicine and rehabilitation. The comprehensive treatment is following;
1) passive stretching of the affected muscle after application of sprayed vapocoolant
2) physical therapy
3) deep electrotherapy; iontophoresis, phonophoresis, short wave diathermy, electrical stimulation
4) local analgesic patch / ointment / spray
5) anti-inflammatory analgesics; Ibuprofen (Motrin / Advil)
6) ischemic compression therapy; pressure on the point
8) steroid shots
I would be happy to assist you further, if you need any more information.
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Dr. Arun: I think you may have finally diagnosed this problem correctely. I have what you describe with a very sore and tender spot about the size of a quarter or halfdollar I would estimate and the pain and discomfort radiates on a line from that spot right over to just about my shoulder blade. Could you tell me if these trigger points could have pain that wraps around to my chest area that would be right equal to where the pain is on my back near my cervical spine? I have thought for a long time that this upper chest discomfort was costochondritis since it seemd to be in that general area. Also, I have seen mini tens unit on HSN so would that be ok to use? It only lasts about 30 minutes and then shuts off. I think we are finally on the right track. Thanks