What is Myofascial Pain Syndrome?


Sore Spots or Muscle Knots

Myofascial pain syndromes (MPS) are where certain areas of the body contain "sore spots" or "muscle knots" that create pain, deep ache, and/or stiffness in that area and refer pain to other areas of the body. For example, a low back myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) would have "sore spots" or myofascial trigger points in the muscles of the low back that cause pain, deep ache and stiffness in the low back region. These myofascial trigger points in muscles, tendons and/or ligaments of the low back could also refer pain into the buttock, hip or even down the leg to the foot. Another example would be a myofascial pain syndrome of the shoulder area with trigger points causing pain, deep ache and/or stiffness of the shoulder and neck area. These trigger points in the muscle, tendons and/or ligaments of the shoulder region could also refer pain down the arm even to the hand, into the mid-back and up into the neck and head.

Pain Signals to your Nervous System

People with myofascial pain syndromes usually have a history of an injury, (slip fall, car accident, etc.) or repetitive muscle strains at work or at play, (e.g. computer work, data entry, golf). A myofascial pain syndrome is often made worse or brought to the person's attention whenever they use the region involved or when a healthcare provider examines them and finds the "muscle knots" in that. These "muscle knots" are the myofascial trigger points in muscles, tendons and or ligaments that cause and maintain pain and stiffness in the musculoskeletal system. These myofascial trigger points are spots of hyperirritable tissue that fire pain signals into your nervous system. These myofascial trigger points need to be Levator_Scapula_3.jpgremoved if one is to ever regain their freedom from pain and freedom of movement again.

Myofascial pain syndrome is equally present in both the male and female populations, whereas fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) strikes women at least 10 times more than men. Also fibromyalgia causes a "sore all over" feeling with fatigue, whereas, myofascial pain syndrome is a more regional complaint. However, myofascial pain syndrome is extremely more common and can be quite disabling, at times it can even lead to fibromyalgia syndrome. Furthermore, Meyer HP (2002) reported in a study on Infraspinatus myofascial pain syndromes, "Failure to recognize myofascial pain syndrome often leads to over-investigation, unnecessary medical intervention, and iatrogenic (physician caused) harm with serious cost implications."

Author Dr. Greg Fors

About Dr. Greg Fors

Dr. Greg Fors, D.C. is a Board-certified Neurologist (IBCN), certified in Applied Herbal Sciences (NWHSU) and acupuncture. As the director of the virtual Pain and Brain Healing Center, he specializes in a functional medicine approach to fibromyalgia, fatigue, brain fog, digestive disorders, depression and anxiety. He is a sought after international lecturer for various post-graduate departments and state associations. Dr. Fors is the author of the highly acclaimed book, “Why We Hurt” available through booksellers everywhere.

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