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Myofascial Pain Syndrome

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Myofascial Pain Syndrome



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 symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on areas of pain. The doctor may make a diagnosis based on symptoms and if there are any trigger points.

Muscles of the Back.

MusclesofTheBackhttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=51035103exhR0023_ma.jpgexhR0023_ma.jpgNULLjpgNucleus factsheet imageNULL\\filer01a\Intellect\images\exhR0023_ma.jpgNULL11NULL2004-05-132803295103_924035Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


The goal of treatment is to ease pain. Ways to do this 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 ways to lift heavy things
  • Having better posture
  • Sitting the right way




  • Myofascial pain syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/myofascial-pain-syndrome.
  • Myofascial pain syndrome: Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12054-myofascial-pain-syndrome.
  • Saxena, A., Chansoria, M., et al. Myofascial Pain Syndrome: An Overview. J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother, 2015; 29 (1): 16-21.


  • Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated:

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.