What is myofascial pain syndrome?
Most people have muscle pain from time to time. But myofascial pain is a kind of ongoing or longer-lasting pain that can affect the connective tissue (fascia) of a muscle or group of muscles. With myofascial pain, there are areas called trigger points. Trigger points are usually in fascia or in a tight muscle.
Myofascial pain often goes away with treatment.
What causes myofascial pain syndrome?
Experts don't know exactly what causes myofascial pain syndrome. It may start after:
What are the symptoms?
The main symptom of myofascial pain syndrome is ongoing or longer-lasting muscle pain, in areas such as the low back, neck, shoulders, and chest. You might feel the pain or the pain may get worse when you press on a trigger point. The muscle may be swollen or hard—you may hear it called a "taut band" of muscle or "knot" in the muscle. Symptoms of myofascial pain may include:
How is myofascial pain syndrome diagnosed?
To diagnose myofascial pain syndrome, your doctor will ask if you have had a recent injury, where the pain is, how long you have had the pain, what makes it better or worse, and if you have any other symptoms.
The doctor will also give you a physical exam. He or she will press on different areas to see if the pressure causes pain.
You may have tests to see if some other condition is causing your pain.
How is it treated?
Talk to your doctor about the best way to treat your pain. The main treatment may include any of the following:
Your doctor may also recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin. These medicines may help with your symptoms.
Sometimes doctors prescribe certain antidepressants or muscle relaxants that help relax muscles and relieve sleep problems related to myofascial pain.
|American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation|
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|Chicago, IL 60611-7617|
The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPMR) is the medical society for the specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation. The Web site includes a directory of member PM&R physicians (physiatrists) that can be searched by last name, location, or telephone number.
|National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), National Institutes of Health|
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|Bethesda, MD 20892|
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) explores complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science, trains complementary and alternative medicine researchers, and gives out authoritative information.
Other Works Consulted
- Bennet RM (2008). Myofascial pain section of Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. In L Goldman, D Ausiello, eds., Cecil Medicine, 23rd ed., vol. 2, pp. 2082–2083. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
- Childers MK, et al. (2008). Myofascial pain syndrome. In WR Frontera et al., eds., Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2nd ed., pp. 529–537. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
- Kay TM, et al. (2005). Exercises for mechanical neck disorders. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3). Oxford: Update Software.
- Lavelle ED, et al. (2007). Myofascial trigger points. Medical Clinics of North America, 91(2): 229–239.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Nancy Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation|
|Last Revised||June 11, 2012|
Last Revised: June 11, 2012
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