Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Throughout the body are myofascial trigger points, sensitive areas located in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. In some cases, these trigger points can morph into myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). MPS is chronic muscle pain that causes inflammation and discomfort in the soft tissues. The pain may be localized or can be communicated to other parts of the body via the various trigger points. MPS is most common in women, especially those who live a more sedentary lifestyle.



Causes of Myofascial Pain Syndrome

The tough connective tissue covering your muscles is called fascia. When an injury occurs, the fascia can tighten and contract, causing pressure on muscles, nerves, organs, or bones. MPS occurs when the pain lingers for an extended period and gets progressively worse. Potential causes of MPS can include:

  • Trauma to musculoskeletal tissues
  • Overuse
  • Herniated discs
  • Lifting heavy objects incorrectly
  • Immobilization of a limb (such as in a cast)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gall bladder issues
  • Stomach irritation
  • Past surgeries
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Hormonal changes, such as menopause
  • Prolonged exposure to cold

Symptoms

There are a number of symptoms associated with MPS, chief among them include:

01

Pain in a seemingly unrelated area

02

Headaches

03

Lower back or pelvic pain

04

Arm or leg pain

05

Depression, anxiety, or mood disturbances

06

Fatigue

07

Tenderness in the muscle

08

Muscle weakness

09

Restriction of movement

010

Pain-related insomnia

Diagnosis

While examining for MPS, your pain management specialist will review your medical history, conduct a physical exam, and administer tests such as an X-ray or an MRI. The diagnosis may be identified as one of the following four types of trigger point pain:

  • Active trigger point: : extreme tenderness felt in a location other than the trigger point directly affected.
  • Latent trigger point: an inactive area that causes pain when pressure is manually applied. The muscle dimples or contracts, also known as a twitch response.
  • Secondary trigger point: An irritable point in a muscle that may activate due to a trigger point in another muscle.
  • Satellite myofascial point: An irritable point in a muscle that stops activating because the muscle is near another trigger pain.

Possible Treatments

Treatment for MPS begins with OTC medications or prescription medications like antidepressants or sedatives to assist with insomnia. Another common treatment modality is physical therapy and is often considered the most effective and most minimally invasive treatment option. Physical therapy can also be combined with trigger point therapy and medications for a comprehensive treatment solution.

Other myofascial pain syndrome treatment options may include:

Acupuncture
Ultrasound therapy
Massage
Heat therapy
Steroid injections, also known as dry needling
Dr.Raju Mantena
Dr. Raju Mantena is an anesthesiologist and pain specialist based in the Houston area and has over 15 years of medical experience which he relies upon each day to successfully treat his patients’ acute and chronic pain.
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