Skip to content

Pain Management Health Center

Select An Article

Myofascial Pain Syndrome (Muscle Pain)

Font Size

Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a fancy way to describe muscle pain. It refers to pain and inflammation in the body's soft tissues.

MPS is a chronic condition that affects the fascia (connective tissue that covers the muscles). It may involve either a single muscle or a muscle group. In some cases, the area where a person experiences the pain may not be where the myofascial pain generator is located. Experts believe that the actual site of the injury or the strain prompts the development of a trigger point that, in turn, causes pain in other areas. This situation is known as referred pain.

Recommended Related to Pain Management

Follow Sleep Routine

Bedtime should be a calm time. Keep your surroundings quiet and restful. Reserve your bed for sleeping, and keep the room dark, quiet, cool, and distraction-free. Keep regular sleep hours. Ban your computer and TV from the bedroom. Conditions: Migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain Symptoms: Fatigue,anxiety, depression, stiffness, unrefreshing sleep, difficulty sleeping, weakness, numbness, tenderness, muscle pain, joint pain ...

Read the Follow Sleep Routine article > >

What Causes Myofascial Pain?

Myofascial pain may develop from a muscle injury or from excessive strain on a particular muscle or muscle group, ligament or tendon. Other causes include:

  • Injury to muscle fibers
  • Repetitive motions
  • Lack of activity (such as having a broken arm in a sling)

 

What Are the Symptoms of Myofascial Pain?

Myofascial pain symptoms usually involve muscle pain with specific "trigger" or "tender" points. The pain can be made worse with activity or stress. In addition to the local or regional pain associated with myofascial pain syndrome, people with the disorder also can suffer from depression, fatigue and behavioral disturbances.

 

How Is Myofascial Pain Diagnosed?

Trigger points can be identified by pain that results when pressure is applied to a specific area of a person's body. In the diagnosis of myofascial pain syndrome, two types of trigger points can be distinguished:

  • An active trigger point is an area of extreme tenderness that usually lies within the skeletal muscle and which is associated with a local or regional pain.
  • A latent trigger point is a dormant (inactive) area that has the potential to act like a trigger point. It may cause muscle weakness or restriction of movement.

 

How Is Myofascial Pain Treated?

Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, acetaminophen or opioids may be used to treat myofascial pain. Medications for sleep, depression or muscle spasm are sometimes used, as well. Non-drug treatments may include:

In some chronic cases of myofascial pain, combinations of physical therapy, trigger point injections, and massage are needed.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on April 08, 2015
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

pain in brain and nerves
Top causes and how to find relief.
knee exercise
8 exercises for less knee pain.
 
acupuncture needles in woman's back
How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
chronic pain
Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
 
illustration of nerves in hand
Slideshow
lumbar spine
Slideshow
 
Woman opening window
Slideshow
Man holding handful of pills
Video
 
Woman shopping for vegetables
Slideshow
Sore feet with high heel shoes
Slideshow
 
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Slideshow
man with a migraine
Slideshow