Trigger points are small sites of tight muscles. With myofascial pain syndrome (MPS), pressure on trigger points results in pain in other parts of the body.
The cause of MPS isn’t clear.
Trigger points causes are:
Injury, such as to discs in between the spinal bones
Emotional stress or tension
The trigger point can stay even after the cause of it has healed.
MPS may be more common in women.
Here are some symptoms of MPS:
Muscle pain or weakness
Pain in parts of the body other than the trigger point
A feeling of pins and needles
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will look for areas that are painful. The doctor may diagnose you based on your symptoms and whether you have trigger points.
Treatment will start by finding out what makes the pain worse. This can help your doctor or physical therapist build a plan to treat you.
Stop things that make your MPS worse. Muscle stretching and strengthening exercises will be used. They can help reduce tension in trigger points.
Other steps that may help are:
Cooling spray and ice before, during, or after activity
Dry needling or acupuncture—both techniques place needle into the trigger point. The needle may help loosen the site.
Medicine injection—pain or anti-inflammatory medicine injected into the trigger point may help you feel better for a short time.
Medicine patch that has an anti-inflammatory medicine in it
Your workplace should be designed for ease of use and comfort. Ask about ergonomic support in your workplace. It can help reduce stress. Some examples are learning the right lifting techniques, improving your posture, and sitting the right way.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 6/12/2018
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