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Last updated: Oct 13, 2021

Myofascial Pain Syndrome

It’s one thing when you suffer an injury and feel pain as a result. It’s quite another when you start feeling unexplained pain in different parts of your body. It may be the result of myofascial pain syndrome, which causes trigger points in your muscles. These are localized points of tenderness, but they can also cause referred pain in other areas, making it difficult to diagnose. Call Redefine Healthcare in northern New Jersey to get a correct diagnosis and the treatment you need to feel better and return to your active lifestyle.

structure of a skeletal muscleMyofascial pain syndrome is a condition that causes trigger points or knots to develop in different parts of your body. These trigger points cause acute or chronic pain. This pain can limit your movement and flexibility, impacting your quality of life. For example, you may develop shoulder pain or neck pain as a result of myofascial pain syndrome.

The leading cause of these trigger points is damage to your fascia, the tough connective tissue covering your muscles and organs.

When it becomes rigid and stiff, your fascia causes pain any time it’s stretched or pulled, which may be every time your muscles contract. While normal body pain isn’t uncommon, especially as you age, persistent pain that increases in intensity isn’t a normal consequence of aging.

Myofascial pain syndrome causes may even be in an area that’s far from the trigger points. This symptom is known as referred pain. For example, a trigger point that causes lower back pain can also create muscle spasms in your neck or patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Why You Need Myofascial Pain Therapy

When you suffer muscle injuries due to repetitive movements, it stresses those muscles, resulting in trigger points. Stress and anxiety are non-physical reasons for the condition. If your job involves frequent lifting and carrying heavy objects, you may develop deep, aching muscle pain.

Another reason for myofascial muscle pain is poor posture. Hunching over your desk or cradling your cell phone against your shoulder is detrimental to your muscles. Your pain management specialist at Redefine Healthcare in northern New Jersey can highlight what you’re doing that may be causing the pain. An experienced doctor recognizes myofascial pain and advises you on the most effective therapy that addresses the pain and resolves your trigger points.

Myofascial Pain vs. Fibromyalgia

Myofascial pain syndrome is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia since the symptoms are very similar. But myofascial pain causes few localized trigger points, whereas multiple, generalized trigger points characterize fibromyalgia. Also, referred pain occurs more frequently in myofascial pain sufferers than in fibromyalgia patients.

Other symptoms that occur more in fibromyalgia and less frequently in myofascial pain syndrome include:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor sleep
  • Burning, prickling or tingling sensations
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowels
  • Swelling sensations

Discovering the Cause of Your Pain

Diagnosing myofascial pain syndrome is often tricky as myofascial back pain can be associated with other types of problems, such as a pinched nerve in your neck or a labral tear. Your New Jersey pain specialist has to evaluate where exactly your trigger point is before recommending myofascial pain syndrome treatment. A physical examination is the first step. Other tests that help your doctor diagnose your condition include:

  • Electromyography
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance elastography

Your doctor may also suggest additional tests that could indicate other problems that are causing your discomfort, such as:

  • Hormone level tests to check whether you have hypothyroidism
  • Blood tests to check if you have an iron deficiency
  • Tests to rule out vitamins D or B12 deficiency
  • Tests for yeast or bacterial infections
  • A blood test for hypoglycemia

Myofascial Pain Relief Treatment

Treatment for myofascial pain usually focuses on easing your trigger points. Your doctor may recommend specific lifestyle changes, as well as other myofascial pain treatments, such as:

  • Changing your diet
  • Enlisting the help of a myofascial pain therapy specialist or physical therapist to learn stretching exercises to relieve your pain
  • Taking the time to learn proper posture when sitting and standing
  • Trying light therapy, which uses infrared light on your trigger points to loosen the myofascial knots
  • Undergoing dry needling, during which the specialist pokes thin needles into the area where you feel pain
  • Getting trigger point injections, during which your pain specialist injects a numbing agent to relieve the tension in your muscles
  • Doing electrical stimulation, which involves an electrode that contracts the affected muscle in rapid succession to get it to relax
  • Trying transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation that uses low levels of electricity directed at the pain area

Your myofascial pain relief begins with a visit to a pain management clinic, where all your treatment options are available. Contact the experts at Redefine Healthcare today for a consultation with a caring, talented physician.

This page was published on Oct 9, 2019, modified on Oct 13, 2021 by Dr. Freeman (Pain Management Specialist) of Redefine Healthcare
Dr. Eric D. Freeman, a highly regarded pain specialist

Dr. Eric D. Freeman, a highly regarded pain specialist in New Jersey, is board-certified and fellowship-trained in Interventional Spine and Pain Management and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is an expert in minimally invasive spinal procedures and non-surgical orthopedic care.

Dr. Freeman is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Interventional Pain Practice Society. In addition, he serves as the Immediate Past President of the New Jersey Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. Dr. Freeman is well-known in the field of pain management as a leading pain management doctor, having been named one of "America's Top Physicians."

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