Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) and Fibromyalgia
Many of those already suffering from the pain of fibromyalgia also suffer from myofascial pain syndrome. Myofascial pain syndrome is another form of chronic pain that can affect the entire body, particularly the face and jaw. Myofascial pain can add to the already annoying symptoms of fibromyalgia, and can contribute to disability and a poor quality of life if not diagnosed properly. If you think that you may be suffering from myofascial dysfunction, visit with your health care provider to discuss your treatment options.
What is Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
Myofascial syndrome is a pain disorder that affects the muscles and fascia throughout your body. Fascia is like a web that surrounds the bones, tissues, organs, and blood vessels throughout the body. Myofascial pain syndrome can attack and cause degeneration of certain areas of the fascia, resulting in chronic pain and a variety of other symptoms.
Pain usually originates in specific areas of the body, called myofascial trigger points (TrPs), which feel like tiny nodules under the skin. These trigger points commonly develop throughout the body, typically where the fascia comes into contact with a muscle.
Myofascial pain syndrome is a very common illness, and most people will develop at least one trigger point in their body at some point in their lives. The majority of these people will not develop severe symptoms and will be able to continue on with their normal routines. However, about 14% of the population will develop a chronic form of the syndrome, resulting in persistent pain and discomfort.
Myofascial pain disorder is very common in fibromyalgia sufferers. It was once thought that myofascial pain syndrome was actually a kind of fibromyalgia. However, this is now known not to be the case. It is possible to have both fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial syndrome, and therefore it is important to be diligent when analyzing your symptoms. If you notice myofascial syndrome symptoms, record them and report them to your doctor.
Signs and Symptoms of Myofascial Pain Syndrome
The most common sign of myofascial pain is the presence of palpable trigger points in your muscles. Trigger points are areas of extreme tenderness and sensitivity, and usually form in bands of muscle underneath your skin. They are similar to the tender points caused by fibromyalgia, only trigger points can be felt beneath the skin. When touched, trigger points will produce pain and twitching in the muscles. Often, pain is felt in an area distinct from the trigger point that is actually affected – this is called referred pain.