Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic form of severe muscle pain. This condition refers to pain and inflammation in the body’s soft tissue and affects the fascia which is the connective tissue that covers the muscle. The pain is generally centralized around sensitive points in the muscle referred to as trigger points. The pain associated with trigger points can spread throughout the affected muscle and are most painful when touched.
Though at some point or another most people will complain of some form of muscle pain, the pain that is associated with myofascial pain syndrome does not resolve in a few days but instead persists and in many cases worsens. Headaches, lumbar region pain, pelvic pain, jaw pain and pain in the arms and legs are often times linked to myofascial pain caused my trigger points.
Symptoms for myofascial pain syndrome vary but the most apparent symptom is, of course, muscle pain in trigger point areas. Activities, stress and utilizing the affected muscles can attribute to pain getting worse. As an effect from the pain that is associated with myofascial pain syndrome there have been reports of sufferers also experiencing fatigue, behavioral disturbances and depression. Other symptoms include a difficulty sleeping due to the discomforts of pain, joint stiffness near the trigger points and other affected areas, and aching of the muscles, and tension in the muscles that often feel like a tight spot of a knot.
Most people that suffer from myofascial pain syndrome may have injured or overused the affected muscle group, ligament, or tendons at some point and time. Other known causes for the condition include general fatigue, injury to the intervertebral disc, repetitive motions, lack of activity or underuse of a muscle group, and medical conditions such as heart attack and stomach irritation.
The main way to identify myofascial pain syndrome would be through the examination of the trigger points. There are four types of trigger points.
• A latent trigger point is an area that is dormant but has the potential to act as a trigger point.
• An active trigger point is a tender area that lies between the skeletal muscles is most often associated with a local pain.
• A secondary trigger point is an already irritable spot in a muscle that can become active due to a trigger point in another muscle.
• A satellite mysofascial point is an irritable spot in a muscle that usually becomes inactive because the muscle is in the region of another trigger point.
Treatment for myofascial pain syndrome varies but it is recommended that you use the least invasive treatment as other methods such as stretching, physical therapy and massages often do the trick. Gentle stretches have been known to ease pain in affected muscles. Try stretching with a physical therapist for professional guidance. A nice, thorough massage has also been known to relieve pain. Pressure applied to the area can lessen area tension. Determining the cause of pain whether it be poor posture or muscle over/under exertion can help to determine the best mode of treatment.
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Written By: Updated: June 30,2011