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Myofasicial pain syndrome is a disorder that affects the connective tissue covering the muscles. Myofascial pain syndrome occurs when repetitive stress or pressure is exerted on sensitive points (trigger points) in a muscle, causing pain in the muscle.

Myofascial pain syndrome can affect a single muscle or a group of muscles. The pain can sometimes extend to other unrelated parts of the body. This means an individual may not experience pain at the actual point where pressure is exerted on the muscle.

About 9 million Americans have Myofascial pain syndrome. Myofascial pain syndrome can occur at any part of the body including the arm, hand, finger, leg, jaw, head, and neck.

Types of trigger points

There are two types of trigger points which are active and latent.

  • Active trigger point

An active trigger point produces pain to the surrounding area of the affected muscle and other parts of the body when pressure is applied. The pain from an active trigger point is often described as a deep pain, dull ache or radiating pain.

  • Latent trigger point

A latent trigger point may not be noticed for long periods of time. A latent trigger point can become active such as if an old injury is aggravated by overuse or stress. A latent trigger point does not cause spontaneous pain. However, a latent trigger point can restrict movement or cause muscle weakness.

Causes of Myofascial Pain Syndrome

The main cause of myofacial pain syndrome is when pressure is exerted on the trigger points or when overused. Repetitive motion or overuse of the muscle is the cause of myofascial pain syndrome.

Risk factors

Certain factors may increase your risk of myofascial pain syndrome. These include:

  • Muscle injury

A muscle injury may increase your risk of developing myofascial pain.

  • Repetitive motions

Repetitive movement of a muscle can increase your risk of developing myofascial pain syndrome.

  • Poor posture

Poor posture such as standing or sitting inappropriately can exert pressure on the muscles and increase your risk of developing pain.

  • Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can also increase your risk of developing myofascial pain syndrome.

  • Trauma 

Trauma that affects the muscles may cause myofascial pain syndrome

  • Prolonged sitting in a position

Sitting or lying in a position for a long period of time may cause myofascial pain syndrome due to pressure exerted on the muscles.

Other risk factors include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Intense cooling of muscles or being in a very cold place
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Lack of exercise or movement
  • Injury to the musculoskeletal system or intervertebral disks
  • Generalized fatigue

Symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome

Symptoms include:

  • Deep aching pain in the affected areas of the muscles
  • Pain that gets worse when the muscle is stretched or strained
  • Pain that gets worse or doesn’t improve with time
  • Presence of painful knots in muscles
  • Weak, stiff, and inflexible muscle
  • Difficulty to sleep

Treatment of myofascial pain syndrome

The treatment options include:

Home remedies

Home remedies for myofascial pain syndrome include:

  • Massage

Massaging the specific areas where you feel pain can reduce the tension in your muscles and reduce pain.

  • Heat

Applying heat can help relieve muscle tension and reduce pain.

  • Stretching

Stretching the affected muscle gently can help relieve pain.

  • Posture training

Maintaining a good posture in every part of your body can help relieve myofascial pain.

  • Exercises

Strengthening exercises can help strengthen your muscles and help improve your pain. A physical therapist can help you with the right exercise to strengthen your muscles.

Medications

Medications that can be used for the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome include:

  • Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) 

Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help reduce myofascial pain.

  • Analgesics

Analgesics such as lidocaine or diclofenac patch, or tramadol may be used to relieve myofascial pain.

  • Muscle relaxants

Muscle relaxants such as tizanidine may be used to reduce muscle spasms causing the pain.

  • Anticonvulsants

Anticonvulsants such as gabapentin and pregabalin may be used to reduce muscle spasms and relieve pain.

  • Tricyclic antidepressants 

Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline can be beneficial for the treatment of myofascial pain.

  • Botox injections

Injecting Botox in the affected muscle can help relieve pain.

  • Dry needling

Dry needling is a quick and effective way to inactivate trigger points. It involves inserting a needle directly into several places in and around the trigger points to break up muscle tension and inactivate trigger points.

  • Trigger point injections

Trigger point injections involve injecting saline or a local anesthetic into the tissue to inactivate trigger points.

  • Ultrasound therapy

Ultrasound therapy involves transmitting sound waves into the tissue using an ultrasound device. The sounds waves heat up and relax the muscles as well as improve blood flow.

FAQs

What is the best treatment for myofascial pain?

The most commonly used treatment for myofascial pain syndrome is acetaminophen. Analgesics, muscle relaxants, antidepressants and anticonvulsants are some other good treatments for myofascial pain syndrome.

Can you be cured of myofascial pain syndrome?

Yes. Myofascial pain syndrome is a curable pain disorder. You can be permanently cured of myofascial pain syndrome if you undergo proper treatment and avoid certain sports or activities that may cause the condition

What muscles are affected by myofascial pain syndrome?

Myofacial pain syndrome can affect any muscle in the body. Repetitive muscle motion or overuse of a muscle can cause myofasicial pain syndrome.

How is myofascial pain syndrome diagnosed?

There are no tests for myofascial pain syndrome. Diagnosis is conducted using physical examination. Your doctor will apply gentle finger pressure to the painful area to detect the trigger points. Your doctor will ask you to describe the pain you’re feeling and the areas you feel the pain. Your doctor will also ask you to describe any other symptoms that you are experiencing.

What makes myofascial pain worse?

Continuous repetitive motion, stress, or pressure on trigger points of a muscle can make myofascial pain get worse.

Does myofascial pain ever go away?

Yes. Myofasicial pain will go away if the pain is effectively treated and if you avoid the things or activities that trigger the pain.

Is myofascial pain constant?

Myofasicial pain is a chronic long-lasting pain. The pain could be constant or come and go depending on the trigger points of the pain. Pressure on trigger points is what causes myofasicial pain. Taking pressure off the trigger points can help stop the pain.

Can emotional stress cause myofascial pain?

Yes. Emotional stress can trigger pain in certain muscles.

How painful is myofascial pain syndrome?

Myofascial pain is described as a deep aching pain. The pain may be persistent or worsen over time. The intensity of myofascial pain can vary from mild to severe.

Is myofascial pain a disability?

Myofascial pain may or may not be a disability depending on the severity of your pain. If your pain affects your ability to do your job and normal daily activities for a period of over 12 months, you may be eligible for social security benefits.

Is myofascial pain syndrome an autoimmune disorder?

No. Myofascial pain syndrome is not an autoimmune disorder. An autoimmune disorder is a disease whereby the body’s immune system attacks its cells and tissues.

Myofascial pain syndrome is caused by repetitive stress or pressure on sensitive points (trigger points) of a muscle, causing pain in the muscle or pain that may extend to other parts of the body.

Why do I have myofascial pain?

Repetitive stress or pressure on the trigger points of a muscle is what causes myofascial pain.

Best doctor for Myofascial pain syndrome is Dr. Rozier MD

Dr. Antonio Rozier MD is the best doctor you should seek for Myofascial pain syndrome. He is specially trained for the treatment and management of pain.

He has performed series of successful pain treatments and procedures. He has a variety of skills and provides multidisciplinary approach for pain treatment. He knows the right treatment option to use for different types and degrees of pain.

He keeps good relationships with his or her patients and communicates well with them. He listens to their concerns and maps out ways to ensure their complete pain relief.

Dr. Rozier is board-certified by the American Board of Pain Medicine and has all the required skills, knowledge, training, and experience to diagnose, manage and treat pain.

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