Myofascial Pain Syndrome


This is a chronic pain disorder. It affects the muscles and the connective tissue (called the “fascia”) that surrounds them. With this syndrome, you may develop sensitive areas on your body called “trigger points”. When these places are pressed or stressed, you feel pain. This condition can affect muscles throughout your body.

Causes And Risk Factors

The cause of myofascial pain syndrome is not fully understood. It may be linked to overuse of your muscles. It may be linked to injury. It may be linked to stress, anxiety and depression, which can keep you from relaxing your muscles throughout the day. It may also be linked to skeletal abnormalities, which can place stress on your muscles.

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Symptoms include sensations of pain deep within one or more muscles. When you press an affected muscle, you may feel a tender knot. Your pain may linger for long periods of time. It may interfere with your sleeping, and it may cause other problems.


The purpose of treatment for myofascial pain is to address painful trigger points. There are several ways to do this, and each way may be performed or overseen by a particular healthcare provider. For example, some physicians may treat myofascial pain using cold-laser therapy or prescription medications. An acupuncturist uses tiny needles to relax the muscles affected by myofascial syndrome. A physical therapist may be involved in a treatment program in which their role is to help you learn how to stretch the affected areas. Physical therapists may also administer ultrasound treatments or electrical muscle stimulation in addition to mechanical modalities that loosen and relax the muscles and fascia. Your healthcare provider understands the many factors that can influence myofascial pain. Their knowledge may lead them to prescribe muscle relaxants or even anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication. They may encourage you to exercise more or implement stress-management habits such as doing yoga, walking in nature, or meditation.

Treatment options include medications, physical therapy and massage therapy. You may benefit from needle procedures that can release tension in trigger points. Your healthcare provider can develop a care plan that is right for your needs.

What you need to understand about myofascial pain syndrome is that there are a great many ways to approach this chronic condition. As a team, you and your healthcare providers can make significant progress in managing or resolving your uncomfortable symptoms.

How Do I Prepare for Myofascial Pain Treatment?

The way that you prepare for your treatment will depend on the treatment your doctor or other healthcare provider recommends. Myofascial pain syndrome is usually treated with very conservative therapies for which there are no special precautions that you need to take beforehand. After your consultation with a qualified professional, you can expect to have all of the information you need to confidently move through your prescribed treatment program.

What Are the Recovery and Aftercare?

There is usually no recovery or special aftercare for myofascial pain syndrome treatments. This can vary based on the modality that your provider recommends, though. For example, you may be advised to avoid strenuous activity for at least a few hours after a physical therapy session for myofascial pain syndrome. At your treatment appointment, you can trust that you will be given the information you need to recover optimally from the type of therapy that is administered. Other modalities for myofascial pain syndrome, such as medications, may present side effects but no actual recovery and aftercare. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your provider for clarification.

How to Prevent Myofascial Pain

There may not be a way to prevent myofascial pain altogether. However, there are several suggestions that may help you reduce your symptoms. Examples include:

  • Learning and performing appropriate stretching exercises.
  • Strengthening the muscles in the affected area.
  • Engaging in mild to moderate aerobic activity such as riding a bike (to increase oxygen delivery to your muscles).
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen as needed (and as prescribed or directed).
  • Avoiding foods and substances that can increase systemic inflammation, such as artificial sweeteners, dairy, or processed meat.

Will Myofascial Pain Return After My Treatment?

It may. The goal of your myofascial pain treatment is to determine what may be triggering your ongoing pain. With proper attention to all influencing factors, you may achieve full resolution of your symptoms, and quickly! Some patients feel brand new after a few weeks of proper care. For others, it can take longer to achieve a level of pain relief that feels satisfactory. The time it takes to feel better can depend on your age, your stress management, the quality of your sleep, and the degree to which you adhere to your healthcare provider's treatment recommendations.

© 2016 Swarm Interactive, Inc.

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