What is myofascial pain syndrome?

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Myofascial pain syndrome involves pain and apparent inflammation of the soft tissues or muscles. This condition is a sore, chronic condition that affects the fascia and might involve either one muscle or a group. In some cases, the affected area where pain is present might not be where the pain generator is positioned. It is believed that the actual location of injury triggers the development of a trigger point that starts pain in other areas which is called as referred pain.


Myofascial pain develops from muscle injuries or excessive strain on a muscle or muscle group, tendon or ligament. Other causes include the following:

  • Generalized fatigue
    Myofascial pain syndrome
    The symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome typically include muscle pain with a specific trigger or so-called “tender” points.
  • Injuries to the intervertebral discs
  • Repetitive motion
  • Lack of activity
  • Medical conditions including stomach irritation or heart attack

Indications of myofascial pain syndrome

The symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome typically include muscle pain with a specific trigger or so-called “tender” points. In most cases, the pain can be aggravated with physical activity or stress. Aside from the local or regional pain linked with myofascial pain syndrome, individuals with the condition can also end up with fatigue, depression as well as behavioral disruption.


A diagnosis of this condition requires full understanding of the trigger points in the body. These trigger points can be identified by pain that manifests once pressure is applied on a body part. During the diagnosis, there are 4 types of trigger points that can be distinguished:

  • Active trigger point is a spot of intense tenderness that is usually positioned within the skeletal muscle and often linked with a local or regional pain.
  • Latent trigger point is an inactive spot that has the potential to function as a trigger point.
  • Satellite myofascial pain is also an irritable area that becomes inactive since the muscle is in the area of another trigger pain.
  • Secondary trigger point is a highly irritable area can become activated by a trigger spot and muscle burden in a different muscle.

Management of myofascial pain syndrome

There are physical therapy methods that are considered as the ideal treatment for myofascial pain syndrome. Other treatment options include a “stretch and spray” method where the muscle with the trigger point is sprayed with a coolant and then steadily stretched.

Massage is another form of treatment as well as trigger point injection. With trigger point injection, it involves administration of anesthesia directly into the trigger point.

In chronic cases, a combination of these treatment options is required. In some cases, medications are used to manage any simultaneously existing conditions such as depression and insomnia.

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