Myofascial Pain Syndrome

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Myofascial Pain Syndrome – Definition

Myofascial pain syndrome is a disorder that is typically caused by repetitive motions or by muscle tension that is stress-related. It is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by referred pain. Referred pain is pain that occurs in one part of your body when pressure is applied to a “trigger point” somewhere else on the body.

Myofascial pain syndrome is a ceaseless condition that influences the fascia which is a connective tissue that covers the muscles and it might include either a solitary muscle, as well as a muscle group. Sometimes the region where individual encounters the pain may not be the place the myofascial pain source is found. Specialists trust that the real site of the damage or the strain prompts the advancement of a trigger point that causes pain in different territories. This circumstance is commonly known as referred pain.

Almost everyone has occasional pain in their muscles due to tension, but the pain of myofascial pain syndrome does not improve or it intensifies. Treatment for the condition usually includes injections in the trigger points and physical therapy. Relaxation techniques and pain medications can also be beneficial.


Myofascial pain syndrome is more common in women than in men, occurring up to three times more often in women. It is the most common type of pain for which people are treated at chronic pain centers.

Pain beginning in the muscles and fascia is extremely normal. Almost everybody, sooner or later, experiences this sort of pain known as myalgia fasciitis or myofascitis. However, myofascial pain syndrome includes pain that is ceaseless, or dependable and is related to particular trigger points. Myofascial pain syndrome regularly happens in individuals between the ages of 30 and 60.


The reason for myofascial pain disorder is obscure. However, earlier damage, poor sleeping patterns, inappropriate lifestyle choices, anxiety, and depression are regular fundamental conditions that may assume a part in impelling and worsening the myofascial pain disorder. It is as of now felt that hazard factors, like the examples given previously, may prompt an adjustment in the capacity of the brain to legitimately process pain observation.

Muscles that have been overused or injured can form sensitive areas where the fibers are very tight. These areas of sensitivity in the muscles are known as trigger points. Trigger points in the muscle can lead to pain and strain in the entire muscle. When the pain does not resolve and intensifies, myofascial pain syndrome may be diagnosed.

Risk Factors:

Myofascial pain syndrome is initiated by pressure or another stimulus. This stimulates triggers points in the muscles causing painful tension. Certain factors may increase the risk of developing trigger points in the muscles including:

  • Injury to the muscles: Acute or chronic muscle injury can cause trigger points to develop. Chronic muscle injuries occur with poor posture habits or with repetitive motions. An area in a muscle that is injured in an acute accident may lead to a trigger point.
  • Anxiety and stress: People who are frequently tense and anxious may be more at risk for the development of trigger points, increasing their risk of myofascial pain syndrome. It could be that they hold their muscles tight and tense, allowing the trigger points to develop due to muscle strain.

The other risk factors for Myofascial Pain Syndrome are:

  • People who have encountered a transient muscle, tendon, or ligament damage or strain, could create trigger points
  • People utilizing muscle gatherings, which have not been utilized for a broadened time frame (like after a broken bone break)
  • The individuals who participate in exercises that include dreary solid development
  • People, who express stance unevenness or poor stance
  • People, who encounter uneasiness or steady mental anxiety

It is imperative to take note of that having a risk factor does not imply that one will get the condition. A risk factor builds ones odds of getting a condition contrasted with a person without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more critical than others.

Additionally, not having a risk factor does not imply that an individual won’t get the condition. It is constantly imperative to examine the impact of risk factors on your social insurance supplier.


There may be complications associated with myofascial pain syndrome including:

  • Sleeping problems: The pain and discomfort caused by myofascial pain syndrome can cause problems sleeping. People sometimes hit a trigger point and wake up when they turn over in bed, or it may be difficult for people to find a comfortable position in which to sleep and causes individuals to sleep uncomfortably.
  • Muscle problems: There are some cases in which the pain of myofascial pain syndrome can influence other muscles. For example, a muscle can be affected and influence when another muscle is experiencing myofascial pain syndrome and is not functioning properly.
  • Fibromyalgia: Some studies suggest that fibromyalgia may result due to myofascial pain syndrome in some cases. Fibromyalgia is a condition that involves chronic and widespread pain. It is thought that the brains of individuals with fibromyalgia gradually become more responsive to pain signals. Some researchers think myofascial pain syndrome may have a role in this process developing.
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Myofascial Pain Syndrome – Symptoms

Myofascial pain syndrome symptoms can cause restricted muscle pain. Influenced muscles cause neck pain, upper back pain, and lower back pain, and most of the time influence one side of the body or one side of the body significantly more than the other. There is generally sensitivity and spasms in the affected regions. There might be sensitivity in territories that are not feeling constant pain which shows myofascial pain syndrome symptoms.

It is likewise normal for patients with myofascial pain disorder to have poor sleeping habits with lesser recovery rest. This is related to an awakening feeling of unrested and daytime weakness. Stiffness due to not moving too much is normal.

The most outstanding feature of myofascial pain syndrome symptoms is the nearness of trigger points. Trigger points are very sensitive sections of the muscle that are excruciating when touched and can cause pain that can be felt in another area of the body. This is called referred pain.

Trigger points may be “dynamic” or “inactive.” A dynamic trigger point is constantly sore and can keep the full utilization of the muscle, resulting in weakness, and limited scope of movement. An inactive trigger point does not cause pain during ordinary exercises, but rather it’s delicate when touched and can be initiated when the muscle is stressed, exhausted or harmed.


Different myofascial pain syndrome symptoms incorporate an impression of muscle weakness, shivering, and firmness. The pain which is related to myofascial pain syndrome may likewise prompt sleeping issues.

People who have myofascial pain syndrome typically have the following myofascial pain syndrome symptoms:

  • Aching and deep pain in a muscle
  • Pain that gets worse and does not get better over time
  • An area of the muscle or “knot” that is very tender
  • Trouble sleeping because of pain
  • Limited range of movement due to pain
  • Low back pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Hip and pelvic pain
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings

When to see a doctor

If you have muscle pain and suspect myofascial pain syndrome symptoms that are persistent, make an appointment to see your doctor. Most people have some degree of muscle pain from time to time. Myofascial pain syndrome symptoms are persistent despite self-care like rest, massage, and over-the-counter pain medications. If your pain intensified despite these treatments, see your physician.

Diagnostic Procedures

If your doctor suspects myofascial pain syndrome symptoms, he may apply pressure to your painful muscles, feeling for trigger points. Certain methods of feeling trigger points can bring about specific responses. For example, muscle twitching may occur if a trigger point is pressed a certain way.

There are many possible causes of myofascial pain syndrome symptoms. Your physician may suggest studies or procedures rule out causes other than myofascial pain syndrome as the reason for your pain.

The diagnosis of this disorder requires an exact comprehension of the body’s trigger points. Trigger points can be recognized by pain that comes out when weight is connected to a range of the patient’s body. In the diagnosis of myofascial pain syndrome, four sorts of trigger points can be recognized:

  • A dynamic trigger point is a range of outrageous delicacy that for the most part exists in the skeletal muscle and which is related with a nearby or local agony.
  • An idle trigger point is a torpid (latent) zone that can possibly act as a trigger point.
  • An auxiliary trigger point is an exceptionally peevish spot in a muscle that can wind up noticeably dynamic because of a trigger point and strong over-burden in another muscle.
  • A satellite myofascial point is an exceedingly bad-tempered spot in a muscle that winds up inactive on the grounds that the muscle is in the area of another trigger pain.

Diagnostic Steps:

  1. After determining the trigger points, your specialist with conduct a thorough clinical evaluation.
  2. Your specialist with ask questions about your complete medical history and analyze your symptoms.
  3. A physical examination will also be held to determine the severity of the myofascial pain syndrome symptoms.
  4. Your specialist may also require you to undergo different diagnostic tests such as X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans, Computerized Tomography (CT ) scans, and electrodiagnostic scans (EMG).

These test will help determine the real source of the pain and conclude which treatment option would be most suitable for relieving the pain caused by the disorder.

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Myofascial Pain Syndrome – Treatment

Myofascial pain syndrome treatment usually includes physical therapy, medications or injections of the trigger points. There is no conclusive evidence to support the benefit of using one particular form of treatment and more than one treatment may be needed.

Ideal myofascial pain syndrome treatment can be a multifaceted approach. This can incorporate educational training of the patient, reducing stress, exercise programs, in addition to non-intrusive treatment, sleeping habit changes, and medicines.

Drugs used for myofascial pain syndrome treatment can be coordinated toward different components of the person’s condition and might be utilized for both short term and long term. Frequent trials of pharmaceuticals are utilized to find the best treatment for a specific patient.


Medications used in the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome may include:

  • Pain medication: Over-the-counter medication like naproxen sodium (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil, and others) may be helpful. Sometimes doctors prescribe pain relievers that are stronger to use for limited amounts of time. Some medications are used topically and are applied as patches to the skin.
  • Antidepressants: Many kinds of antidepressants are used to treat pain. Some people who have myofascial pain syndrome benefit from amitriptyline. This medication also helps people to sleep.
  • Sedatives: Clonazepam (Klonopin) can help relax tense muscles that are affected by myofascial pain syndrome. This drug can cause sleepiness and it can also be habit-forming, so it must be used with caution.


Physical therapy is used to relieve the pain of myofascial pain syndrome based on the signs and symptoms the disorder causes. Therapies used may include:

  • Stretching: Your physical therapist may teach you gentle stretches and exercises to help the pain in muscles affected by myofascial pain syndrome. If pain increases with stretching, a numbing solution or spray may be applied to the skin to help calm the pain.
  • Posture training: This is especially helpful for the neck area. Improving the posture can help myofascial pain by strengthening the muscles around the trigger point. This helps to avoid over-stressing any one certain muscle.
  • Massage: Massage of the affected muscle may be used to relieve myofascial pain syndrome. The physical therapist might massage using long strokes along the muscle or pressure might be placed on specific areas of the muscle to relieve tension.
  • Heat: Application heat, using a hot shower or hot pack can relieve pain and reduce tension in the muscles caused by myofascial pain syndrome.
  • Ultrasound: In this therapy, sound waves are used to increase warmth and blood flow to the muscles. This may promote muscle healing.

Needle procedures

A steroid or a numbing medication injected into a trigger point may help reduce the symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome. Sometimes, just inserting the needle in the trigger point of the muscle helps relieve muscle tension. This is called dry needling, and it involves inserting the needle into different areas around and in a trigger point. Acupuncture may also benefit myofascial pain syndrome in some people.

Useful Advice:

People who have myofascial syndrome need to take good care of themselves. It may be easier to control your pain if your body is healthy. As much as you can, try to:

  • Exercise: Gentle forms of exercise can help you deal with stress and cope with pain. As much as your pain will allow, try to keep moving. Ask your physician or your physical therapist what exercises are appropriate for you.
  • Relax: When you’re tense or stressed, your pain may increase, so try to find ways you can relax. Writing in a journal, talking with your friends or meditation can be helpful ways of relaxing when you have myofascial pain syndrome.
  • Take good care of your body: Make sure your daily diet includes vegetables and fruit. Drink plenty of water and try to get adequate amounts of sleep. Taking care of your body will allow you to direct your energy more effectively with dealing with your myofascial pain syndrome symptoms.

Living with a chronic condition such as myofascial pain syndrome can be overwhelming. Sometimes treatments are not 100% successful. You may want to talk to a counselor to help you cope with your frustrations and challenges. Support groups may also be helpful. These can help by connecting you with others who are facing similar circumstances.



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