Myofascial pain syndrome

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Myofascial pain syndrome

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Myofascial pain syndrome

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Synonyms and keywords: MPS

Overview

Myofascial Pain Syndrome (or MPS) is a term used to describe one of the conditions characterized by chronic pain. It is associated with and caused by "trigger points" (TrPs), sensitive and painful areas between the muscle and fascia. Simons has visibly identified and documented these contraction knots through electromyographic imaging, ultrasound, and biopsy. The symptoms can range from referred pain through myofascial trigger points to specific pains in other areas of the body.

MPS may be related to a closer-studied complex condition known as Fibromyalgia. By accepted definition, the pain of Fibromyalgia is generalized, occurring above and below the waist and on both sides of the body. On the other hand, myofascial pain is more often described as occurring in a more limited area of the body, for example, only around the shoulder and neck, and on only one side of the body.

Neither MPS or FMS is thought to be an inflammatory or degenerative condition, and the best evidence suggests that the problem is one of an altered pain threshold, with more pain reported for a given amount of painful stimuli. This altered pain threshold can be manifest as increased muscle tenderness, especially in the certain areas, e.g., the trapezius muscle. These syndromes tend to occur more often in women than in men, and the pain may be associated with fatigue and sleep disturbances.

The precise cause of MPS is not fully understood and is undergoing research in several medical fields.

A fairly new form of therapy called Myofascial Release, using gentle fascia manipulation and massage, is believed by some to be beneficial and pain-relieving.

Myofascial pain syndromes can arise of distinct, isolated areas of the body, an example being male chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

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