Myofascial Pain Syndrome


How to Say It: My-o-fay-shul Pan Sin-drom


Trigger points are small sites of tight muscles. Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is when pressure on trigger points results in pain in other parts of the body.


The cause is not clear.

Trigger points causes are:

  • Injury, such as to discs in between the spinal bones
  • Muscle overuse
  • Emotional stress or tension

The trigger point can stay even after the cause of it has healed.

Risk Factors

MPS may be more common in women.


MPS may cause:

  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • Pain in parts of the body other than the trigger point
  • Problems moving
  • A feeling of pins and needles


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on areas of pain. The doctor may diagnose you based on your symptoms and whether you have trigger points.

Muscles of the Back

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


The goal of treatment is to ease pain. Choices are:

  • Supportive care, such as rest and cold compresses
  • Medicines to ease pain and swelling
  • Physical therapy to ease tension in trigger points
  • Dry needling or acupuncture to loosen a trigger point
  • Massage therapy


The risk of this problem may be lowered by making ergonomic changes to the workplace. Some examples are learning the right lifting methods, improving posture, and sitting the right way.


American Physical Therapy Association
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians


Canadian Physiotherapy Association


Myofascial pain syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed January 25, 2021.
Myofascial pain syndrome: Cleveland Clinic website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed January 25, 2021.
Saxena A, Chansoria M, et al. Myofascial Pain Syndrome: An Overview. J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2015 Jan 5.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 1/25/2021

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.