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Myofascial Pain Syndrome

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Myofascial pain syndrome, also called as chronic mysofascial pain is a condition that causes pain in the muscles and the sheath of the tissue. The pain may occur in one muscle or a group of muscles.


Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder of the muscles and the fascia. The pressure on the sensitive points of the muscles in your body causes pain in other parts of the body. This type of pain is called as referred pain. Chronic myofascial pain occurs when one muscle has been repeatedly contracted. This occurs in cases of repetitive motions carried out when one is working or playing sports. At times it can be a stress-related muscle tension.

Symptoms of Myofascial Pain Syndrome

There are myofascial trigger points that are highly sensitive areas. These points within the muscle are very painful to touch and can lead to pain in other unrelated areas of the body (referred pain).

There are active or latent trigger points. In case of active trigger points, the muscle feels sore all the time. This limits the use of the muscle, leading to decrease in range of motion and muscle weakness. The latent trigger points do not lead to any pain during normal activities. However, they are painful when touched and may turn activated when they get injured, strained or fatigued.

Symptoms of chronic myofasical pain include:

  • Deep pain in the muscle
  • Persistent pain
  • Tender muscle knot
  • Problems sleeping due to pain
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling in muscle

Some patients may complain of tinnitus, dizziness and hearing loss. It is also observed that the pain:

  • May worsen or improve with rest
  • Worsens under stress
  • Increases in cold climate
  • May come and go on its own
  • Might be associated with bruxism
  • May get triggered bychanges in activity, lifestyle or diet
  • Might occur after an injury, surgery or dental work

Causes of Myofascial Pain Syndrome

The exact cause ofmyofascial pain is yet to be understood. However, it may be due to overuse of certain muscles or muscle fiber injury. It may even occur due to poor posture, emotional disturbance as well as a connective tissue disorder.

Diagnosis of Myofascial Pain Syndrome

The doctor will carry out a physical examination by pressing a finger on the painful area. The doctor will press in certain ways to get a specific response from the trigger points. This will also help them understand the tense areas of the muscle.

Treatment for Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Treatment for myofascial pain includes the use of medications, injections as well as physical therapy. Medications such as over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen may help with the constant pain. At times sedatives that help relax the muscles may be prescribed.

A physical therapy like application of a heat pack, stretching exercises, massage, etc. will also help in healing and resolving the discomfort due to chronic myofascial pain.

The overall prognosis for myofacial pain syndrome is good. It should be diagnosed and treated to control the symptoms. One may not be able to prevent the condition, but improving posture, eating the right diet, exercising and learning stress management techniques will avoid this condition. Speak to your doctor if you experience constant muscle pain.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: March 29, 2015

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