Can muscle adhesions cause pain?

Apr 20, 2023
Muscle adhesions are one of the most common yet missed diagnosis
Muscle and nerve adhesions are a common problem that affects many people, especially those who engage in physical activities or suffer from certain medical conditions. This occurs in the soft tissue where collagen fibers “stick” to adjacent tissue.

Muscle adhesions can be identified by the presence of lumps or knots in the muscle, which can be tender to the touch.  

Adhesions are a type of scar tissue that forms between two surfaces, usually between muscles and nerves, and can cause pain, restricted range of motion, and weakness.

Nerve adhesions, on the other hand, occur when scar tissue forms around a nerve, which can lead to nerve compression or irritation. Nerve adhesions can cause a variety of symptoms, including numbness, tingling, and weakness.

Common sources leading to a fibrous adhesion include:

  • A large cut
  • Force applied to a body part
  • Infections
  • Radiation treatment
  • Repetitive motion
  • Excessive stress

Treatment for muscle and nerve adhesions typically involves massage and stretching exercises to help break up the scar tissue and improve the range of motion.  However, this rarely removes the adhesion for good.

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (EWST)  is a non-invasive, outpatient alternative to surgery for those with many joint and tendon disorders.

ESWT sends acoustic sound waves into bone or soft tissue, these waves effectively allows the body to regenerate blood vessels and bone cells. The resulting revascularization leads to faster healing and often a return to pre-injury activity levels.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the adhesions.

Preventing muscle and nerve adhesions is also important. This can be achieved by maintaining good posture, using proper lifting techniques, and avoiding repetitive motion. Stretching before and after physical activity can also help prevent adhesions from forming.

Pittsburgh Spine and Injury is one of the only EWST providers in the Pittsburgh, PA region.  Call or book your appointment online today!


Mayo Clinic Staff. (2021). Adhesions. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adhesions/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2021). Muscle Strains in the Thigh. Retrieved from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/muscle-strains-in-the-thigh

Koopman, J. S., & de Kanter, M. (2018). Nerve entrapment syndromes of the lower leg, ankle, and foot. Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine, 11(4), 606-616. doi: 10.1007/s12178-018-9515-5