"Myofascial" Made Simple
The word myofascial means muscle tissue (myo) and the connective tissue in and around it (fascia). When stressed or injured muscles form trigger points, like contacted knots, that cause pain and tightness.
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Myofascial Pain Syndrome: Getting to the Point
Myofascial trigger points are an extremely common cause of pain. Trigger points are painful when pressed on, cause a shortening of the muscle fibers, and have a special property called referred pain. Referred pain means that a trigger point in one muscle can create pain in another area. For instance, when the muscle at the top of your shoulder (trapezius) has a trigger point it will refer pain up the side of your neck and head causing a headache.
Muscles make up between 36-42% of body weight, on average. They are a large percentage of our total weight and have a corresponding impact on our health. When all is in working order, muscles allow us to perform normal activities with ease. When our muscles harbor trigger points, we experience pain, physical limitation and loss of normal function.
A diagnosis of Myofascial Pain Syndrome or Chronic Myofascial Pain means that the primary source of your symptoms are from these myofascial trigger points. Often, trigger points are present secondary to other sources of pain, such as arthritis or bulging discs. The trigger points may actually be causing the painful symptoms attributed to with these conditions. As such, they are often called "the great mimickers".
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Rotator cuff (shoulder) pain
- Jaw pain (TMJD)
- Tennis elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hand and arm pain
- Repetitive Strain Injuries
- Pelvic pain
- Hip pain
- "Sciatic" pain (buttock pain)
- Leg and knee pain
- Plantar fascitis (foot) pain
- Disc pain (bulge/rupture/herniation) and radiculopathy
- Frozen shoulder