Myofascial Pain Syndrome & Chronic Pain
Myofascial pain syndrome (MFP) is a chronic pain condition marked by inflammation in the body’s soft tissues or muscles. This health condition often causes pain in unrelated parts of the body because of pressure on sensitive trigger points. The Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler specialize in treating numerous chronic pain conditions, including myofascial pain syndrome.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome Overview
Myofascial pain syndrome is characterized by inflammation and pain that affects the fascia, the connective tissue that covers the body’s muscles. Many patients experience referred pain, a seemingly unrelated area of pain, because of pressure on sensitive points in the muscles. These sensitive areas are commonly referred to as trigger points.
The chronic pain condition typically begins after a muscle has been repetitively contracted over an extended period of time. This is often found in workers and recreational athletes that perform repetitive movements each day. Unlike acute muscle pain, the pain associated with myofascial pain syndrome becomes chronic. This health condition can also be caused by an injury to intervertebral discs, general fatigue, lack of activity (sling usage) and certain medical conditions such as a heart attack.
Symptoms of Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome include a tender knot in a muscle (trigger point), deep, aching pain in a muscle, acute pain that worsens into chronic pain and difficulty sleeping because of the pain level. Many patients report increased pain with physical activity and stress.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Myofascial Pain Syndrome
A pain doctor will begin the diagnosis of myofascial pain syndrome by determining the body’s trigger points. When pressure is applied to a specific area of the body and causes pain, it is typically classified as a trigger point. There are four common types of trigger points found in patients affected by this chronic pain condition, including:
- Active trigger point- an area of extreme tenderness that usually lies within the muscle and is associated with local or regional pain.
- Latent trigger point- a dormant (inactive) area that has the potential to act like a trigger point.
- Secondary trigger point– a highly irritable spot in a muscle that can become active due to a trigger point and muscular overload in another muscle.
- Satellite myofascial point- a highly irritable spot in a muscle that becomes inactive because the muscle is in the region of another trigger point.
Many pain physicians begin treatment of myofascial pain syndrome with a physical therapy and rehabilitation program. Various physical therapy techniques are utilized to stretch and cool the trigger point. A combination of physical therapy, massage and trigger point injections may be prescribed in more severe cases.
For additional information on myofascial pain syndrome, a chronic pain condition, please contact the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, proudly serving the greater Tyler, Texas area.