Myofascial Pain

What You Need to Know

Myofascial pain is pain localized in the soft tissues. Specific tight areas of muscle known as trigger points are often found. They are palpable areas of tense muscle fibers. Myofascial pain is typically a regional disorder located in a specific area or muscle group.

Causes

Myofascial pain is not fully understood; however, repetitive or strenuous use of muscles may be a key contributing factor. There can also be underlying problems such as arthritis, which can lead to a progression of pain and worsening of symptoms. In these and many cases it is important to identify and appropriately treat the underlying disorder.

Symptoms

  • A band of muscle that when touched, produces pain and other symptoms.
  • Dull, achy pain.
  • Pain that worsens with muscle use and improves with rest.

There is no blood testing or imaging that can produce a diagnosis of myofascial pain syndrome. Diagnosis is made by obtaining a thorough history and performing a physical exam.

The best treatment involves a multimodal approach, but opioids are typically ineffective in the treatment of myofascial pain.