Is Your Stiff, Sore Neck a Product of Myofascial Pain Syndrome?

Is Your Stiff, Sore Neck a Product of Myofascial Pain Syndrome?

Your neck is painful, sore, and stiff, and the discomfort overshadows practically everything you do. Driving is difficult, computer work makes matters worse, and sleep is hard to come by as your neck objects to every position and pillow.

While many conditions can lead to neck pain, the team here at Commonwealth Pain and Spine wants to focus on one possible culprit here — myofascial pain syndrome.

Since this condition is behind up to 85% of musculoskeletal pain, it’s worth taking a closer look at myofascial pain to determine whether it may be responsible for your sore neck.

Myofascial pain in general

All the muscles in your body are surrounded by thin membranes called your fascia, which are connective tissues that keep your muscles together and prevent friction between muscles. Your fascia surround individual muscles, groups of muscles, and muscle fibers, which essentially means they’re everywhere.

When you have an injury or a spasm, your muscles and the surrounding fascia tighten to protect themselves. This tightening can lead to muscle knots, also called trigger points. These trigger points can then pull on other muscles and fascia, causing radiating discomfort from the trigger point.

Making matters worse, muscle contractions prevent blood and oxygen from gaining access to the tissues, preventing them from healing and causing them to become stiff and painful. 

Myofascial pain and your neck

Myofascial pain can strike anywhere in your body, but it tends to develop more often in the upper back, shoulders, and neck.

More specifically, the following two muscle groups are often involved when it comes to myofascial-related neck pain:

Trapezius

A large muscle that extends from the base of your skull to your mid back, your trapezius allows your head and neck movement, such as tilting or turning your head.

Sternocleidomastoid

These muscles on either side of your neck extend from your skull (just behind your ears) to your sternum. In addition to helping support your neck, your sternocleidomastoids allow you to rotate your head.

As you can imagine, if you develop trigger points and myofascial pain syndrome in either of those muscle groups, you can be left with neck pain and stiffness.

Treating myofascial pain in your neck

If we determine that your neck pain is due to myofascial pain syndrome, we aim to release the contraction in these tissues. To do this, we turn to one or more of the following:

If you'd like to figure out which treatment is best for your myofascial neck pain, please make an appointment with one of our musculoskeletal specialists at a location near you. We have offices in 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 in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.

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