INTRODUCTION: Myofascial pain syndrome is among the most common cause of physical disability and severe chronic muscle pain and affect millions of people worldwide. So far muscle stretching exercises and some therapeutic interventions have been recomended with various effects.
METHODS: Sixty-six patients with myofascial pain syndrome due to trigger points in trapezius muscle were included in this study. Patients were divided randomly into 2 groups of 33 patients: group 1; medicinal leech therapy group, group 2; platelet rich plasma injection group. To the first group, 4 medicinal leech were applied to the trigger points 2 times in a 4 week interval. To the second group, a total of 2 ml platelet rich plasma was administered to each trigger point 2 times in a 4 week interval. All patients had also taught and given trapezius muscle stretching exercises for ten minutes as a daily diary shedule for 12 weeks.
RESULTS: At the end of the study there was a significant decrease in visual analogue scale scores in both groups, while a significant increase in pain treshold values in medicinal leech therapy group (p<0.05). Significant differences were found between groups in short form-36 pain, general health and vitality scores in favor of leech therapy group (p <0.05).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Although both methods were found effective in the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome, the clinical efficacy of medicinal leech therapy was greater than platelet rich plasma. Leech therapy seems to be an effective and reliable treatment option when added to muscle stretching exercises in myofascial pain syndrome.