Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a painful condition that causes pain, spasms and tenderness in the muscles, tendons or ligaments. It affects skeletal muscles in the body. Its symptoms are localized to strained muscle and nearby structures. Its exact cause is unclear. The potential causes may involve strained activities, direct or indirect injury, spinal ailments, poor posture, poor sleep posture, and mental stress or anxiety. Its symptoms include pain in one part or side of the body, poor sleep, fatigue, stiffness, and many more. It can be treated with anti-inflammatory medicines, painkillers, and antidepressants.
Is Myofascial Pain Syndrome Inflammatory?
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain condition that occurs in the connective tissues surrounding the muscles.1 It is an inflammatory condition that affects soft tissues around the muscles. It affects one or a group of muscles mainly skeletal muscles. It may lead to the development of trigger points in the muscle that are irritated by strenuous activities. In some cases, the affected person feels pain in the areas whose trigger points are remote and often not known. These points might have developed in the injured muscle whose pain is felt in other areas. This type of pain is called referred pain.
Myofascial pain syndrome can be caused due to various reasons. However, it is not clear which one has caused myofascial pain syndrome. It develops when a muscle is injured directly or indirectly or overstrained during physical activity or repetitively strained. It involves a single muscle, or muscle groups, tendons or ligaments. It causes inflammation of the muscle fascia. Fascia is a connective tissue that is covering layer of the muscle. It can be also caused by injuries to intervertebral disks (spinal cord), generalized fatigue, and lack of activity as seen in the broken hand in a sling, medical issues such as stomach irritation, heart attack, stress, anxiety or depression. It can also be induced by poor posture and poor sleep pattern.2
The symptoms of myofascial syndrome develop when trigger points are activated. It causes pain in the muscle that gets aggravated with stress or physical activity. The symptoms are localized usually near the trigger points. The other symptoms involve tenderness and spasms in the muscle, fatigue, disturbed sleep, numbness and tingling, behavior changes and sometimes bowel problems. In some cases, the pain is triggered away from the trigger points and is known as referred pain. The change in weather, stressful events, and strenuous activities may increase the intensity of the muscle pain.
Myofascial pain syndrome is diagnosed through physical examination and medical history of the patient. The trigger points are evaluated by a physician. The pressure is applied to the triggered points to check the intensity of the pain. The physician applies pressure on the specific points by which two types of trigger points can be evaluated-
- An active point that shows extreme tenderness and lies on the affected skeletal muscle. It causes localized pain.
- The latent trigger point that remains dormant and can act as a trigger point in the future. It is characterized by weakness or limitations in the movements.
- Secondary trigger point and satellite myofascial points are used in the diagnosis.
As myofascial pain syndrome is an inflammatory disease, it can be managed with non-steroidal inflammatory medicines such as opioids, acetaminophen. These medicines reduce the inflammation and pain in the affected areas. Sleep, depression, and spasms are treated with medicines such as anti-depressive and antispasmodic medicines.
Physical therapy, massage therapy, and stretch and spray technique can also relieve the symptoms efficiently. In this technique, the affected muscle is sprayed and coolant is applied to the trigger points. Then, the patient is asked to stretch the affected part slowly. Trigger point injections are also given to relieve the symptoms.
Myofascial pain syndrome is an inflammatory disease that develops in the muscle fascia. It causes pain, tenderness, and spasms in the muscle. The skeletal muscle is affected by this disease. It is treated with anti-inflammatory medicines to control inflammatory changes in them.
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