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Myofascial Pain Syndrome–Trigger Points

Understanding Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial Pain Syndrome is defined by the presence of trigger points located in the muscles with severe pain felt during when pressed. Myofascial pain syndrome is most often found in women. Myofascial pain syndrome may also include other syndromes, such as TMJ or temporomandibular joint syndrome, back pain, headache, and more. This is a common cause of musculoskeletal pain.

The most affected areas are soft tissues. This soft tissue is professionally called “fascia.” There are trigger points throughout the body. A common thing I hear from clients is that they did not know they could get trigger points there. I always reply, you can get trigger points in literally any muscle.

Calf trigger point referral-myofascial pain syndrome

The thing to note about trigger points is that they send referred pain when pressed on. If referred pain is not felt, but the area is still tender or painful, it is called a tender point.

Signs and Symptoms of Myofascial Pain Syndrome

The main symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome are trigger points located under the skin, which leads to exceptional sensitivity and sensitivity to touch. These trigger points are very similar to the weak points that most people experience with fibromyalgia and cause muscle pain when touched, which usually occurs mainly in the jaw area, but can occur anywhere in the body.

This condition can also cause many other symptoms that may seem unrelated, and include balance problems, migraines, muscle weakness, blurred or double vision, memory problems, and sleep problems, usually caused by pain.

Usually, the pain in this condition feels like a dull pain, but a burning, stitching, or throbbing pain can also be felt. Environmental conditions that may affect myofascial pain syndrome include weather changes such as humidity, cold, humidity, and drought. Physical activity can also increase the symptoms, as well as anxiety and stress.


 Causes of Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Many factors are considered potential causes of the myofascial pain syndrome, one of which is muscle and skeleton problems, including injuries or traumas. These injuries can occur when muscles are overloaded, which can lead to muscle injuries and trigger points.

It is believed that poor posture in some people causes MPS (myofascial pain syndrome), as well as skeletal abnormalities, including differences in size between the legs, feet, or toes. Long-term exposure to low temperatures is another potential trigger for the development of MPS. People with increased sensitivity of the central nervous system to fibromyalgia in the form of chronic pain can become stiff and hard as a result of complications.

People with high stress often express pain at different trigger points, possibly due to muscle tension resulting from stress. Some researchers suggest that stress-related muscle contraction or tension is a factor. If you take action and actively work on releasing the tension, you should consult a medical specialist if the pain persists or intensifies.

stress image

Who has myofascial pain syndrome?

Diagnosis of myofascial pain can be challenging; this has been associated with various symptoms with numerous possible causes, such as headaches, lower back pain, fibromyalgia, and TMJ dysfunction. The best indicators of myofascial pain syndrome are persistent muscle pain and palpable muscle nodes that do not disappear alone.

Myofascial pain and trigger points can develop in anyone, from very active to very sedentary. Poor posture causes normal muscle tone and tension, which can trigger points. Improper exercise can cause muscle imbalance, which causes trigger points in excessively developed muscles, as well as in weakened, overloaded muscles that tighten, trying to return to standard length.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome Treatment

Only Evidence-based treatment should be used to treat myofascial pain syndrome. These proven strategies include assisted stretching techniques, muscle relaxation using manual therapy, clinical massage, and muscle retraining using simple movement techniques (clinical neuromuscular re-education). As a result, we stimulate the involved muscles to “activate” correctly, so that they can begin to do their work about structures that move and stabilize. These treatments, often used simultaneously, bring the muscles in line with their intended use and help patients return to normal as soon as possible.

Now something I talk a lot about is self-myofascial release. The self-myofascial release techniques have gained recognition in the treatment of back pain and other pain at home. These techniques involves rolling a solid object, usually a foam roller or lacrosse ball, to make tense muscles and muscles relax and restore flexibility.  SMR is not associated with the same benefits of biofeedback as a myofascial release provided by a professional, but for many, it is still an effective and necessary element of treatment.

foam roller


Make the time to regularly release and stretch your muscles especially if you are experiencing pain. If you feel any referral while pressing on a tender spot, make sure you hold it until the referral subsides! Also be sure to roll and release the muscles where the referred pain was felt, they will likely have some tension as well.

Finally, take care! Take care of your body, eat the right types of food because, in a healthy diet full of vegetables and fruits, combined with adequate sleep, a person suffering from MPS will cope with chronic pain, fatigue, and stiffness associated with myofascial pain syndrome.

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