Overview | Causes | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment

Overview

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Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic form of muscle pain. The pain of myofascial pain syndrome centers around sensitive points in your muscles called trigger points. The trigger points in your muscles can be painful when touched. And the pain can spread throughout the affected muscle.

While many people may experiences muscle pain occasionally, the pain generally goes away in a few days. Suffers of myofascial pain syndrome have muscle pain that remains and / or worsens.

Causes

Muscle injury or excessive strain on a particular muscle or muscle group, ligament or tendon may lead to myofascial pain. Other causes may include:

  • Intervertebral disc injury
  • General fatigue
  • Repetitive motions
  • Medical condition such as heart attack or stomach irritation
  • Inactivity (i.e. broken arm in a sling)

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Symptoms

Myofascial pain symptoms commonly involve muscle pain centered around sensitive points or "trigger" points. Pain symptoms may become worse with activity or stress. Other symptoms of this disorder may include depression, fatigue and behavioral disturbances.

Myofascial pain caused by trigger points has been linked to many types of pain, including headaches, jaw pain, neck pain, low back pain, pelvic pain, and arm and leg pain.

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Diagnosis

Trigger point pain can be described as pain that results when pressure is applied to an area of a person's body. In the diagnosis of myofascial pain syndrome, four types of trigger points are identified:

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  • Active trigger point - This is an area of extreme tenderness that typically lies within the skeletal muscle and often associated with a local or regional pain.
  • Latent trigger point - A dormant or inactive area that may potentially act like a trigger point.
  • Secondary trigger point - An especially irritable spot in a muscle that may become active due to a trigger point and muscular overload in another muscle.
  • Satellite myofascial point - A highly irritable spot in a muscle that becomes inactive because the muscle is in the region of another trigger pain.

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Treatment

Treatment for myofascial pain syndrome can bring pain relief in many cases. Options for myofascial pain syndrome treatment may include physical therapy, trigger point injections or medications.

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