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Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial pain syndrome is a common pain condition that involves muscles. It is characterized by points within the muscle that are extremely irritated and sensitive especially when touched. These muscles are called trigger points because when they are pressed, the pain is felt in another area away from the muscle that is being pressed on. This type of pain is called referred pain. Causes of myofascial pain syndrome include:

  • Repetitive trauma

    • Constant overuse of certain muscles can cause those muscles to become irritated

  • Trauma from accident or injury

    • Whiplash

  • Stress on muscles that are held in a certain position for prolonged amount of time

    • For instance, looking at the computer screen for a long time can cause stress on the neck muscles

  • Inactivity or lack of exercise

  • Immobility 

    • Being bed bound

What type of pain can you experience with myofascial pain?

  • Muscle tenderness

  • Throbbing, aching pain

  • Spasms

  • Decreased range of motion or muscle stiffness

  • Burning pain

  • Feeling a knot or "taut band" in the muscle that is tender when pressed

How can our St. Louis pain doctors help diagnose your myofascial pain?

Myofascial pain syndrome can mimic other conditions such as a pinched nerve, headaches, neck pain, back pain or hip pain. At St. Louis Spine and Joint Pain Specialists, our pain physicians are highly trained and knowledgeable about typical patterns and presentations of myofascial pain so that your myofascial pain is diagnosed accurately.

  • Thorough history and physical exam

  • No imaging needed

What are your treatment options?

  • Trigger point injections

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

  • Skin creams/ointments and patches

  • Massage therapy

  • Anticonvulsant

  • Muscle relaxants

  • Heating pads

  • Cold packs

  • Physical therapy

  • Ultrasound therapy

  • Acupuncture

  • TENS

    • Blocks pain signals from the irritated muscle

  • Botox injections​


What can you do to avoid or decrease myofascial pain syndrome?

  • Get adequate amounts of sleep

    • Sleep deprivation has been shown to cause increased myofascial pain

  • Exercise

  • Use proper techniques for lifting objects safely

  • Stretch

  • Learn stress relief techniques

    • Meditation and yoga

For more information or to discuss an appropriate treatment plan for your myofascial pain with one of our specialized pain management physicians, call Saint Louis Spine and Joint Pain Specialists today.

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