You develop a knot in your muscle or you strain a muscle — the odds are that you’re experiencing myofascial pain. In fact, the prevalence of myofascial pain is 85%, which makes it a very common condition. Where myofascial pain becomes more problematic is if you’re experiencing ongoing pain in a certain area, which could signal myofascial pain syndrome.
As musculoskeletal experts, the team here at Commonwealth Pain and Spine understands the difference between acute myofascial pain and when it may have potentially crossed over into myofascial pain syndrome.
To help you recognize the difference, here are four signs that your discomfort may be caused by myofascial pain syndrome (MPS).
Whether it’s MPS or an acute problem with myofascial pain, it may be helpful to better understand the role of your myofascial tissues. Surrounding all the muscles in your body is a thin, white tissue called fascia. When these tissues become overly tight or contracted, it can lead to pain and tenderness, which are the hallmarks of myofascial pain.
Now that we have a good idea of the problem, let’s take a look at four signs that your discomfort may be due to MPS.
As the condition itself implies, pain is the primary symptom that comes with MPS. This pain is often described as a dull and constant ache in a certain area, though the pain can flare up suddenly, often for no obvious reason.
This pain lasts far longer than acute myofascial pain, which typically remedies itself within a few days or weeks.
Another characteristic of MPS is the presence of painful or sensitive trigger points in your muscles that often develop after an injury or overuse. These tiny bumps or nodules in your muscles are hyperirritable spots that are responsible for sending out pain signals to your brain. The resulting pain can be local to that trigger point, radiate outward as secondary trigger points develop, or both.
Aside from the pain, your muscles and the trigger points within them can become extremely sensitive when you have MPS.
The longer your MPS continues, the less likely you are to use the muscles in the affected area, which can lead to weakness in the muscles or loss of range of motion.
There's no single diagnostic test that can confirm the presence of MPS, but our team has extensive experience with this condition, which allows us to readily identify the problem. If we determine that MPS is responsible for your pain and discomfort, we offer several treatment options, including:
Depending upon the extent of your MPS, we may try a combination of therapies, but, rest assured, we work with you until you find relief.
If you believe that you may have myofascial pain syndrome, we urge you to make an appointment with one of our pain management experts at a location near you. These locations include St. Matthews, Elizabethtown, Lexington, Crestview Hills, Owensboro, and London, Kentucky. Indiana offices are in Evansville, Vincennes, New Albany, Carrollton, and Jasper. We also serve patients from Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio