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Those Ongoing Aches and Pains Could Be Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Nov 10, 2023
Those Ongoing Aches and Pains Could Be Myofascial Pain Syndrome
More than one out of five American adults struggle with chronic pain, and myofascial pain syndrome likely accounts for its fair share. Here’s what we want you to know about this common condition.

You’ve been struggling with a dull ache in a certain area of your body, or perhaps you’re having painful flare-ups there. Whether a mild but constant background ache or an intense, debilitating sensation, localized musculoskeletal pain with no apparent injury often stems from myofascial pain.

In fact, of the nearly 52 million adults in the United States who report chronic pain (pain that lasts for three months or more), myofascial pain likely accounts for a significant percentage — up to 85% of the general population will develop myofascial pain syndrome at some point.

In this month’s blog post, the extensive team of pain management experts here at Commonwealth Pain & Spine wants to shed some light on myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) so that you can better identify whether the condition might be the source of your ongoing discomfort.

What does myofascial refer to?

To kick off this discussion, let’s start with uncovering what we mean when referring to myofascial pain. The term comes from myo, which relates to muscles, and fascia, which refers to the tissue surrounding your muscles. 

If you’ve ever handled raw meat, such as chicken or steak, you may have noticed a thin, white covering (called silver skin) that can be difficult to peel away. This is a great example of fascia — which may be thin, but it’s very tough.

Humans have fascia throughout their muscles — it surrounds whole muscle groups and individual muscle fibers.

What are the signs of myofascial pain?

The pain you experience with MPS coincides with inflammation in your fascia and muscles. In most cases, myofascial pain develops in specific areas, though tender trigger points can cause referred pain in seemingly unrelated areas.

The leading symptom of MPS is pain, which can be sharp and come on suddenly or start as a subtle nuisance that builds to a constant ache. And we already mentioned painful trigger points, which are knots in your muscles that can be very tender to the touch.

Beyond pain, you might also experience fatigue, weakness, stiffness, and loss of range of motion.

The many roads to myofascial pain syndrome

There are many different ways in which you can develop myofascial pain syndrome, including:

  • An acute musculoskeletal injury
  • Repetitive stress injury
  • A weakness in one area that causes more strain on another (favoring)
  • Poor posture (sitting or standing)
  • Structural issues, such as scoliosis

As you can see, any condition or event that strains these connective tissues can lead to inflammation and MPS.

Finding relief from myofascial pain

The good news is that we offer several different solutions that can bring you much-needed relief from MPS, such as:

  • Trigger point injections, including dry needling to release the trigger points, as well as wet needling in which we administer a steroid and anesthetic to your trigger points
  • Physical therapy
  • Ultrasound heat therapy
  • Massage therapy

To determine which option is best for your myofascial pain, we invite you to schedule an appointment at one of our 21 locations in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.