Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) are another pair of conditions that often go together yet are distinct from one another. It is important that the distinction be recognized because they require different treatments.

Although FMS has tender points, MPS has trigger points and these trigger points can be eliminated. Also, MPS pain can make FMS worse, and treating MPS can have a calming effect upon FMS symptoms.

In myofascial pain syndrome, muscles and connective tissues develop trigger points (TrP), which are not the same as tender points found in fibromyalgia. A trigger point is a small, hard knot that you can often feel under your skin.

The knot itself can be painful and it causes referred pain - that is pain in another area. Trigger points are usually the result of some kind of trauma to the tissue in that particular area.

While many people sustain a knock or injury and heal just fine, others develop malformations at the site of the muscle trauma where the nerves connect to the muscles. This is what causes referred pain.

Similar but Different

The FMS/MPS connection isn't clear. However, there is evidence that chronic pain such as is inherent in FMS can make changes to the central nervous system that results in central sensitization.

Some MPS symptoms are similar to FMS symptoms, such as:

· soft-tissue pain ranging from mild to severe

· headaches or migraines or both

· sleep disturbances

· problems with balance and dizziness

· ear pain

· memory challenges

· sweating

· experiencing worsening symptoms with weather changes, stress or physical activity

Chest Pain and MPS

Of course, chest pain associated with FMS can be caused by MPS. Chest pain caused by MPS can be relieved through trigger point treatment wherein a doctor inserts a needle directly into a trigger point, or in several places around it.

In the case of chest pain, the trigger point may be under the rib. The insertion of a needle works in a similar way to acupuncture by releasing the taut bands around the knot. Other treatments include methods that can be contra-indicated for FMS.

It is clear that FMS and MPS are different conditions; however, they can be and often are found together in individuals. It is important, therefore, to understand the conditions and know how best to treat them by working together with a good doctor and/or physical therapist.

You may be able to figure out what is causing the pain and take the appropriate action without exacerbating the fibromyalgia.

Learn more about costochondralgia and costochondritis in this article.

Table of Contents
1. Chest Facial Pain
2. Myofascial Pain Syndrome
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