Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a chronic pain disorder that affects the muscles and fascia (connective tissue that covers the muscles). It is characterized by pain and inflammation in trigger points, which are small, tender knots in the muscle fibers.
Trigger points can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Muscle overuse
- Muscle injury
- Repetitive motions
- Poor posture
MPS can cause pain in any muscle in the body, but it is most common in the neck, shoulders, back, and hips. The pain can be aching, throbbing, or sharp. It may also be accompanied by other symptoms, such as:
- Muscle stiffness
- Muscle weakness
- Reduced range of motion
MPS is diagnosed based on a physical examination and a patient’s medical history. The doctor will look for trigger points and assess the patient’s range of motion.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for MPS. Treatment plans are typically tailored to the individual patient’s needs and symptoms. Common treatments include:
- Trigger point injections: These injections contain an anesthetic or corticosteroid medication to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Dry needling: This technique involves inserting a thin needle into the trigger point to release tension and promote healing.
- Massage therapy: Massage can help to relax the muscles and reduce pain.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help to improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the trigger point.
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may be used to relieve pain and inflammation. Prescription medications, such as muscle relaxants or antidepressants, may also be used.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove a trigger point or repair damaged muscle tissue.
Self-care measures that can help to manage MPS include:
- Applying heat or ice to the area of pain
- Stretching regularly
- Getting regular exercise
- Learning relaxation techniques to manage stress
If you have MPS, it is important to work with a doctor or physical therapist to develop a treatment plan that is right for you. With proper treatment, most people with MPS can manage their pain and improve their quality of life.