Trigger Point Pain vs Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Muscle pain can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere. Most of the time, it resolves on its own. Other times, the pain can linger. Persistent muscle pain affects your quality of life and may require treatment.
For some patients, pain develops in sensitive spots known as trigger points. These points are located within the taut band of muscle. When pressure is placed on the trigger points, it can cause pain. The pain may go away after a short time or may persist. Chronic pain may be related to myofascial pain syndrome.
Here, we discuss the differences in trigger point pain versus myofascial pain syndrome and when to seek treatment.
What Is Trigger Point Pain?
Trigger points are small knots or bumps in the muscle tissue just under the skin. Most of the time, when you press on one, there is no pain or tenderness. Other times, putting pressure on a trigger point causes sensitivity or even significant pain.
Symptoms and Causes
Trigger point pain is common after the muscles are contracted or through repetitive movements. Anyone is susceptible. The pain can strike during routine activities at work, while out playing a sport you love, or even from stress. An injury to the muscle or frequent stress and clenching the muscles can result in trigger point pain.
If you notice a painful knot in your muscles, particularly those in the neck, shoulders, back, or leg, you may have trigger point pain. The pain is generally localized and is noticeable when you press on the knot in your muscle.
How Do You Relieve Pain from Trigger Points?
Thankfully, trigger point pain is treatable.
At-Home Options for Trigger Point Therapy
When you notice a knot or pain in your muscles, there are therapies you can try at home to relieve your muscle pain.
- Use ice for inflammation.
- Use heat to relieve persistent pain in tight muscles.
- Roll a tennis ball over your trigger points.
- Massage a foam roller over your muscles to smooth out the tissue and relax the muscles.
- Take over-the-counter medication to relieve the pain.
- Try yoga or stretching exercises to ease your muscle tension.
- Find a way to relieve your stress.
When to See a Doctor
If you have tried at-home therapies and massaging your muscle knots and still have pain, it may be time to seek help. Try physical therapy to improve poor posture and ease your muscle tension. You may also need to see a physician who specializes in pain management or sports medicine to discuss treatment options for persistent muscle pain.
What Is Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
Trigger points or sensitive areas in your muscles can occur following an injury or overuse. It is when the pain persists and worsens, even after rest and at-home therapies, that it leads to myofascial pain syndrome. Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain condition that involves the musculoskeletal system.
Some of the signs of myofascial pain include:
- Deep pain in specific points in the muscles
- Worsening pain when the affected muscle is stretched
- Muscle pain that does not improve
- Painful knots in the muscles that when pressed cause localized pain
- Muscles that are weak, stiff, or have limited motion
Does Myofascial Pain Ever Go Away?
Myofascial pain often goes away with the appropriate treatment!
Diagnosing Myofascial Pain
A physical exam and discussion of your symptoms is necessary to diagnose myofascial pain syndrome. Your physician may gently press on certain muscle groups or tense areas. By pressing those areas, he can check for active trigger points which will twitch or elicit responses to the pressure.
Myofascial Pain Treatments
Treatment for myofascial pain syndrome may involve medication, exercises, injections, or a combination of therapies.
- Trigger point injections – This safe, effective procedure involves injecting an anesthetic and/or a corticosteroid into the problem area. This helps to relax the muscles and relieve your pain.
- Ultrasound therapy – An ultrasound machine transmits sound waves which heat up and relax the muscle, improve blood flow, and remove scar tissue. The treatment may help reduce stiffness for improved mobility.
- Massage therapy – Special massage treatments such as trigger point pressure release to reduce stiffness and relieve pain.
Get Treatment for Trigger Point Pain and Myofascial Pain Syndrome in Charlotte
If you have persistent muscle pain, contact the team at Advanced Sports & Spine for trigger point treatment in Charlotte. We offer a holistic, interventional approach to pain management to help improve your mobility and improve your quality of life.
Schedule an appointment today to relieve your muscle pain.