Closely Linked - MPS and FM

The Same Only Different

One of the primary indications of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is widespread pain, especially muscle pain. Often, upon initial investigation, FMS can be confused with myofascial pain syndrome (MPS), which also presents with muscle pain. These two syndromes, while different, can be present together in a person with fibromyalgia. The symptoms often overlap and because of this the sufferer is usually diagnosed with one or the other of the syndromes.

However, it is important that they are identified as distinct from one another because their treatments do vary. It is possible to eliminate the trigger points in MPS, although it is not possible to eliminate the tender points of FMS. It is possible that MPS can make FMS worse and it is also possible that by treating myofascial pain syndrome, the symptoms of fibromyalgia will settle down.

What Is Myofascial Pain Syndrome?

The word myofascial comes from two words, "myo" for muscle and "fascia" for the connective tissue that covers the muscle. Myofascial pain is produced by trigger points, which are tiny, hyperactive pockets of irritability in the muscle that are caused from trauma to the tissue. The trigger points can be felt as small knots under the surface of the skin. The knots can be painful, especially when touched or pressed upon, and can radiate pain to other areas. This radiating pain is called referred pain. Trigger points are caused when a microscopic portion of a contracted or shortened muscle gets stuck in a contracted state. Diagnosis of MPS is made by a physical examination rather than findings of x-rays or scans.

Trigger points cause the already shortened muscle to continue shortening. They also cause weakness and pain. They cause referred symptoms that can be quite severe and felt far away from the original source of the trigger point. An example of this would be pain that goes down the leg but starts in the buttocks or low back. Trigger points cause headaches, including tension and migraine headaches. Aching, numbness, tingling and cramping are all patterns of pain felt as a result of trigger points and MPS.

FMS & MPS Shared Symptoms, The Same ...

Although myofascial pain syndrome has its own list of symptoms, there are some that it shares with fibromyalgia syndrome, which explains why it is often associated with FMS:

· soft-tissue pain ranging from mild to severe

· headaches and/or migraines

· disturbed sleep

· balance problems and/or dizziness

· tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and ear pain

· memory problems

· unexplained sweating

· symptoms worsen with weather changes, stress, and physical activity


... Only Different

There are symptoms that are associated with MPS but not with FMS that include:

· numbness in the extremities

· popping or clicking of joints

· limited range of motion in joints and in the jaw

· doubled or blurry vision

· unexplained nausea

Symptoms associated with FMS but not with MPS include:

· fatigue

· panic attacks

· feelings of being overwhelmed as a result of high sensory input

· allergies and sensitivities

· periodic confusion & disorientation

Shared Treatments for the Two Syndromes

Just as these two syndromes share symptoms, they also share some of the same treatment options. The areas that are shared treatments include:

· Chiropractic

· Acupuncture

· Stretching and myofascial trigger point injections

· Prolotherapy

· Neural therapy

· Thought Field Therapy, biofeedback, and EEG biofeedback for pain and stress

· Healing Touch

· Environmental detoxification

· Aroma therapy

· Photon therapy

· Massage Therapy

Additional Treatment for FMS

Additional treatments for fibromyalgia syndrome that do not apply to myofascial pain syndrome are:

· Reflexology

· Feldenkrais

· Exercise

Nutrition and Stress Management, Important to Both

Both syndromes benefit greatly from nutritional supplementation and therapies that help to reduce pain, relieve fatigue and improve the sense of total body wellness. Nutritional changes are an integral part of health management in both cases. It is advisable to be tested for allergies as well as learn how to address bowel issues, headache, pain, fatigue, and mental fogginess in order to round out treatment.

Stress management is also important to the healing process for both MPS and FMS. Learning how to respond to stress and finding ways to get a good night's sleep are essential. Discovering medications that are not addictive to help with sleep can make a big difference to the levels of pain and fatigue for a person with fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome.

Learn more about myofascial pain syndrome in the article in this section.

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