Classified as chronic pain disorder, myofascial pain syndrome is the medical term for muscle pain, where the muscle tissues experience pain and inflammation. Due to the fact that the muscle tissues of the human body are interconnected, myofascial pain may involve just one particular muscle tissue or a whole group of muscle tissues. In some cases, the pain may occur in a completely unrelated section from where the myofascial pain first took place. This occurs when a trigger point is activated, which spreads the pain to other areas.
Injury to a particular muscle or muscle group, as well as excessive strain on a ligament or tendon can cause myofascial pain. Other causes include:
- Motions done in a repetitive manner
- Muscle fibers suffering injury
- Lack of movement or activity
- Periods of stress or anxiety which can lead to muscle tension (such as clenching of the muscles)
As a result of injuries or persistent use of the muscle or muscle groups, sensitive spots form, referred to as trigger points. This results in the entire muscle experiencing pain and strain and becomes referred to as myofascial pain syndrome when the condition continues and gradually worsens. There are two variations of trigger points. The first one is an active trigger point that exists deep within the skeletal muscle and is often affiliated with pain in that specific area or region. The other variation is known as a latent trigger point. It is an area within the muscle that lies inactive but has the potential to become a trigger point.
Individuals suffering from myofascial pain syndrome may experience some of the following symptoms/signs:
- Pain that continues and worsen with time
- Lack of ease when sleeping due to the onset of pain
- Deep pain within the muscle
Common treatments for myofascial pain syndrome include the use of opioids, acetaminophen, physical and massage therapy, as well as trigger point injections.