Pain in your neck?
You have a good chance of having myofascial pain syndrome
characterized by muscle knots or trigger points
What is Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
Myofascial (my-oh-fass-shal) Pain
Syndrome (MPS) is a painful condition
that is characterized by localized pain,
muscle tenderness, decreased range of
motion, mood and sleep problems.
The pain in MPS most commonly
occurs in the head, neck, shoulders,
arms, legs and lower back. However, it
can occur in any muscle group.
MPS is not life-threatening and rarely worsens over time if treated properly.
Most people with MPS report feeling some pain all the time.
However, the pain intensity can vary with the time of day, physical activity,
and the presence of stressful situations. People with MPS often have
problems with their mood, namely anxiety which vary with time of day,
physical activity, and the presence of stressful situations. People with MPS
often have problems with their mood, namely anxiety and depression.
How is Myofascial Pain Syndrome diagnosed?
There is no specific laboratory test to
correctly diagnose MPS. MPS is
diagnosed by the presence of multiple
sore spots or trigger points in the muscles.
When these trigger points are touched,
pain may be felt in other parts of the body.
This is called referred pain. Additional
symptoms used to diagnose MPS include
impaired range of motion, mood
disturbance, muscle tenderness, and sleep
What are trigger points?
The pain in MPS comes from the development of trigger points in the linings
of the muscles, called myofascia. The myofascia is a film that wraps around
the muscle fibers to give them shape and support. Trigger points are
extremely sore spots that can be found throughout the body.
What causes Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
The exact cause of MPS is not known. Current thinking is that a number of
factors including poor posture over time, continuous pressure on
the muscle, emotional stress, surgical incisions, repetitive motions and joint
problems can trigger MPS. These factors can result in a vicious cycle of
suffering, inactivity and disability.
Who gets Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
It is not known how many people in the United States have MPS. MPS
appears to be more common in women than in men. It usually
occurs between the ages of 20-40 years old. It is more commonly found in
persons with sedentary jobs and lifestyles than in those who engage in regular
How is Myofascial Pain Syndrome treated?
A combination of approaches is recommended for its treatment. This is due to
its chronic nature and the physical and psychological stress factors that play a
role in its development and maintenance. The common treatments for MPS
TRIGGER POINT INJECTIONS: During this procedure normal saline or
Lidocaine is injected directly into the painful trigger point to break it up and
release the tension.
DRY NEEDLING: During this procedure, a needle is inserted directly into
the painful trigger point to break it up and release the tension. No medicines
are injected into the muscle during this procedure.
LOW LEVEL LASER: Is the application of intense red and near infrared light
over the trigger points in the muscle. The light relaxes the tension in the muscle
leading to a reduction of pain without sensation or side effects.
MEDICATIONS: Sometimes medications, such as tricyclic antidepressants like
amitriptyline (Elavil) or trazodone, are sometimes useful in helping with muscle
tightness and sleep problems commonly associated with MPS.
LIFESTYLE CHANGES: Limit caffeine and alcohol intake and smoking. All of
these can aggravate the trigger points. Increasing physical activity can also assist in
DEEP RELAXATION: Many people with MPS are able to decrease their pain by
learning to relax and manage stress. Skills such as slow deep breathing, meditation,
and guided imagery can help with pain management.
POSTURE RE-TRAINING: Learning and applying principles of correct posture
and body mechanics can help relieve stress and tension on the affected muscles.
This training is often provided through groups or classes.
Coping with Myofascial Pain Syndrome.
Most people with MPS may have had many tests and seen many health care
providers in hopes of finding an answer. This can lead to increased frustration and
fear which may increase symptoms. Sometimes family and friends, as well as
physicians, may express doubts about MPS. To a person experiencing frustrating
symptoms, disbelief from others can increase feelings of isolation, depression,
guilt, and anger.
Treatment is available to help you manage MPS.
You can feel better!
Gary Jett, MD “Advanced care for Healthy results
Gary Jett, MD Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Call Us: 340-718-8282