Going Through Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) is chronic soft tissue or muscle pain. It is felt deep within the muscle fibers and fascia and has trigger points in the muscles that are very painful when touched. Often pain can be felt at another location apart from the original site. This is called referred pain.


There are several pain characteristics including:

  • deep, aching muscle pain
  • pain persists or worsens
  • there will be a tender “knot” in the tissue
  • difficulty sleeping due to the pain


It is important to set an appointment with your Primary Care Physician if the pain does not go away even after rest, massage, and other measures of self-care.


The causes include tense muscles from repetitive actions or overuse and stress tension. Trigger points can cause pain and strain through the entire muscle affected. Such actions like repetitive motion, poor posture and anxiety can also cause muscle tension. Often the onset is after an injury that does not heal properly. In this scenario, muscle injury leads to nerve cells connecting to muscle cells.


Research continues and there is a belief that MPS may precede the onset of Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia is similar to MPS except Fibromyalgia has tender points instead of “trigger” points. These diseases  are different and have some distinguishing characteristics


MPS has several initial signs and symptoms such as:

  • soft tissue pain
  • headaches, migraines, ear pain, tinnitus
  • disturbed sleep patterns
  • memory problems
  • unexplained sweating problems
  • worsens due to stress, weather changes, physical activity
  • distinguishing symptoms include numbness in extremities, popping/clicking joints, limited range of motion, double/blurry vision, unexplained nausea.


Fibromyalgia has its own set of signs and symptoms including:


  • brain fog
  • depression
  • wide-spread chronic pain
  • muscle and joint issues
  • digestive issues and heart palpitations
  • pain may alternate from throbbing to sharp, stabbing, diffuse, and severe
  • may have remissions and flares
  • tender points that are felt near the skin
  • Symptoms not found with MPS include fatigue, panic attacks, sensory overload, allergies and sensitivities, periodic confusion and disorientation.


Chronic pain makes changes in the Central Nervous System of some people. This causes central sensitization. Early treatment of MPS can prevent the onset of Fibromyalgia.


Treatment includes:

  • medications for pain
  • antidepressants
  • sedatives


Therapy includes Physical Therapy and includes:

  • stretching and strength building exercises
  • massage to release tension
  • use of heat to relieve pain ( hot packs or showers/baths)
  • ultrasound to improve blood circulation
  • additional treatment includes steroid/analgesic injections, dry needling, and acupuncture.


MPS is often present with a Fibromyalgia diagnosis but Fibromyalgia is NOT always present with MPS. In both cases the pain IS real. With MPS trauma usually precedes the development of the disease. There is no known cure at this time for MPS or Fibromyalgia.