• Soft Tissue Pain

    When specific causes of symptoms aren’t known, doctors sometimes refer to conditions simply by naming the symptoms. Such is the case for so-called “soft tissue pain.” The term soft tissue pain simply refers to discomfort somewhere in the interconnected system of muscles, tendons, and ligaments, as opposed to the bones, and says nothing about the particular cause.
    The most commonly used conventional treatments for soft tissue pain consist primarily of drugs that relieve pain and/or inflammation in general, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, as well as muscle relaxants. Physical therapy methods are commonly recommended for selected forms of soft tissue pain, but there is little to no reliable scientific evidence that they help. 1–511-14 Other methods, such as therapeutic exercises, may help, but most reported studies are significantly flawed by the lack of a credible placebo treatment. (For why this is important, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies? )
    A similar lack of reliable evidence exists regarding other non-surgical, non-drug methods used to control soft tissue pain, such as injection therapy, radiofrequency denervation, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). 6–10
    Surgery may be useful for certain selected forms of soft tissue pain, although again the supporting research evidence is generally very incomplete.

    Proposed Natural Treatments

    Natural treatments for the following forms of soft tissue pain are discussed in their own articles:
    Alternative therapies that may be useful for soft tissue pain in general include acupuncture , biofeedback , chiropractic , hypnosis , magnet therapy , massage , prolotherapy , and relaxation therapy .
    Herbs and supplements that may have a general pain-relieving effect include boswellia , butterbur , devil’s claw , D-phenylalanine , proteolytic enzymes , and white willow .

    References

    1 Robertson VJ, Baker KG. A review of therapeutic ultrasound: effectiveness studies. Phys Ther . 2001;81:1339–1350.

    2 van der Heijden GJ, Beurskens AJ, Koes BW, et al. The efficacy of traction for back and neck pain: a systematic, blinded review of randomized clinical trial methods. Phys Ther . 1995;75:93–104.

    3 Philadelphia Panel. Philadelphia Panel evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on selected rehabilitation interventions for neck pain. Phys Ther . 2001;81:1701–1717.

    4 Philadelphia Panel. Philadelphia Panel evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on selected rehabilitation interventions for low back pain. Phys Ther . 2001;81:1641–1674.

    5 Philadelphia Panel. Philadelphia Panel evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on selected rehabilitation interventions for shoulder pain. Phys Ther . 2001;81:1719–1730.

    6 Milne S, Welch V, Brosseau L, et al. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for chronic low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2001;(2):CD003008.

    7 Assendelft WJ, Hay EM, Adshead R, et al. Corticosteroid injections for lateral epicondylitis: a systematic overview. Br J Gen Pract . 1996;46:209–216.

    8 Shrier I, Matheson GO, Kohl HW 3rd. Achilles tendonitis: are corticosteroid injections useful or harmful? Clin J Sport Med . 1996;6:245–250.

    9 Niemisto L, Kalso E, Malmivaara A, et al. Radiofrequency denervation for neck and back pain. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2003;(1):CD004058.

    10 Nelemans PJ, de Bie RA, de Vet HC, et al. Injection therapy for subacute and chronic benign low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2000;(2):CD001824.

    11 Frost H, Lamb SE, Doll HA et al. Randomised controlled trial of physiotherapy compared with advice for low back pain. BMJ . 2004;329:708. Epub 2004 Sep 17.

    12 Koes BW, Malmivaara A, van Tulder MW et al. Trend in methodological quality of randomised clinical trials in low back pain. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol . 2005;19:529-39.

    13 Bisset L, Paungmali A, Vicenzino B et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials on physical interventions for lateral epicondylalgia. Br J Sports Med . 2005;39:411-22; discussion 411-22.

    14 Hayden JA, van Tulder MW, Malmivaara AV et al. Meta-analysis: exercise therapy for nonspecific low back pain. Ann Intern Med . 2005;142:765-75.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    HeartSHAPE® Test Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.