Myofascial Pain Syndrome and Trigger Points Treatments Animation
Myofascial pain syndrome is a common chronicpain disorder that can affect various parts of the body. Myofascial pain syndrome is characterizedby presence of hyperirritable spots located in skeletal muscle called trigger points.A trigger point can be felt as a band or a nodule of muscle with harder than normal consistency.Palpation of trigger points may elicit pain in a different area of the body. This is calledreferred pain. Referred pain makes diagnosis difficult as the pain mimics symptoms of morewellknown common conditions. For example, trigger point related pain in the head andneck region may manifest as tension headache, temporomandibular joint pain, eye pain, ortinnitus.
Symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome includeregional, persistent pain, commonly associated with limited range of motion of the affectedmuscle. The pain is most frequently found in the head, neck, shoulders, extremities,and lower back. Trigger points are developed as a result ofmuscle injury. This can be acute trauma caused by sport injury, accident, or chronic muscleoveruse brought by repetitive occupational activities, emotional stress or poor posture.A trigger point is composed of many contraction knots where individual muscle fibers contractand cannot relax. These fibers make the muscle shorter and constitute a taut band a groupof tense muscle fibers extending from the
trigger point to muscle attachment. The sustainedcontraction of muscle sarcomeres compresses local blood supply, resulting in energy shortageof the area. This metabolic crisis activates pain receptors, generating a regional painpattern that follows a specific nerve passage. The pain patterns are therefore consistentand are well documented for various muscles. Treatment of myofascial pain syndrome aimsto release trigger points and return the affected muscle to original length and strength. Commontreatment options include: Manual therapy, such as massage, involvesapplication of certain amount of pressure to release trigger points. The outcome ofmanual therapy strongly depends on the skill
level of the therapist. The Spray and Stretch technique makes use of a vapor coolant to quickly decrease skintemperature while passively stretching the target muscle. A sudden drop in skin temperatureprovides a pain relief effect, allowing the muscle to fully stretch, and thus releasingthe trigger points. Trigger point injections with saline, localanesthetics or steroids are well accepted as effective treatments for myofascial triggerpoints. Dry needling insertion of a needle withoutinjecting any solution is reported to be as effective as injections.