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Myofascial Pain Syndrome


My-o-fay-shul Pan Sin-drom



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.


Causes    TOP

The cause of MPS isn’t 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    TOP

MPS may be more common in women.


Symptoms    TOP

Here are some symptoms of MPS:

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

Diagnosis    TOP

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.

Muscles of the Back


Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


Treatment    TOP

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.
  • Massage therapy
  • 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

Prevention    TOP

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.


American Physical Therapy Association

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians


Canadian Physiotherapy Association

Health Canada


Myofascial pain syndrome: Cleveland Clinic website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated July 7, 2014. Accessed June 12, 2018.

Myofascial pain syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114093/Myofascial-pain-syndrome . Updated December 4, 2017. Accessed June 12, 2018.

Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 6/12/2018

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