Q. What is Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
A: Myofascial Pain Syndrome (also known as MPS) is a syndrome where a patient may have muscle pain and spasms in a certain part or region of the body. In many cases, the pain starts after someone has had an incident that hurts the muscles in a certain area, such as neck pain after a car accident.
Q. What are the symptoms of Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
- Muscle pain in a certain area of the body
- Muscle spasms in this area
- Feeling pain in other areas of the body
- Tension headaches
Q. What causes Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
A: It is known that this syndrome can occur again after some type of trauma has occurred to a certain area of the body such as neck pain after someone has had a car accident. Also sporting injuries, such as being hit in the back by a tennis ball and having pain and spasms in that area of the back that was struck by the ball. Again, any form of trauma to any of the muscles in the body can result in MPS.
Q. Who gets Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
A: Anyone who has suffered a trauma as described above can get this syndrome. There is no specific age where a person is more likely to have this syndrome and men are not more likely to get this over women or vise versa.
Q. How is Myofascial Pain Diagnosed?
The following are criteria for diagnosing this condition:
- Again, muscle pain is limited to a certain region of the body
- The pain can be felt in another area or part of the body (this is also known as referred pain) when muscles in this area are touched
- In the affected muscles, the tissue can feel like a band when touched and these bands are called trigger points
- There is a tender or very painful area in the center of the trigger point when it is touched
- Visible twitching from the trigger points in those muscles in the affected area of the body
Q. What are the treatments for Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
A: Doctors recommend a multifaceted approach, which includes the following:
- Massage to the affected muscles, which can be done by a physical therapist (PT) or a certified message therapists (CMT)
- Taking prescription muscle relaxants to relax the affected muscles and decrease pain
- Use of anti-inflamatory medications to help in pain relief
- Application of heat and/or ice to affected area as directed by your physician
- Physical therapy in many cases to strengthen and stretch the traumatized muscles
- Use of trigger point injections where a local anesthetic is injected into the trigger point to relax it and decrease the pain
Q. Where can I get help?
A: Seek out physician specialists, who are board-certified. These doctors, are trained to help you manage your Myofascial Pain Syndrome, which includes determining if physical therapy or massage therapy is appropriately ordering the appropriate exercise. Prescribing medications as appropriate.