What Is It?
Myofascial pain syndrome is a complicated and often painful condition. Myo refers to our muscles and the “fascia” is the biological fabric just under our skin that holds us together. According to the Cleveland Clinic (2015) myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) refers to pain and presumed inflammation of the body’s soft tissues or muscles. MPS might involve either a single muscle or a muscle group. Patients with MPS usually present with persistent pain, tight or aching muscles, a limited range of motion and general fatigue or a combination of these (Moon, 2004).
How Is MPS Diagnosed?
Sensitive areas of tight muscle fibers can form in your muscles after injury or overuse. These sensitive areas are called trigger points and can cause pain and weakness in your muscle. Trigger points can be identified by pain that results when pressure is applied to a specific area of a person’s body. A diagnosis of MPS might also be made based on a patient’s description of the pain, a record of trauma to the area or an anatomy abnormality such as a leg length difference.
How Is MPS Treated?
One of the treatments that may be utilized is direct pressure on the sensitive area. This direct pressure can help the muscle or group of muscles to release. This treatment may need to be repeated several times to re-train the muscles to relax. Another treatment that may be recommended for MPS is a trigger point injection. This is where a needle is used to inject a steroid or another medication into the point of tenderness. Physical therapy is also used to treat MPS.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome can be a biochemical and a mechanical problem. Another complication is that the pain a patient is reporting may be referred, meaning that the pain may be occurring away from the trigger point or point of original injury. Therefore, if you suspect that you have MPS, it is important that you find a practitioner who is familiar with diagnosing and treating the condition.
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Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. Learn more about Tracy and what healthy living services and products she can offer on her website. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.