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Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myo refers to muscle and fascia is a dense, tough tissue surrounding your muscles and bones. 

Common Signs & Symptoms

  • Restricted movement which can be anywhere in your body
  • Deep, aching pain in a muscle
  • Pain that persists or worsens
  • A tender knot in a muscle

Description

Myo refers to muscle and fascia is a dense, tough tissue surrounding your muscles and bones. This thick tissue is found covering the meat we eat so you might have seen it covering a chicken breast. In your body, it runs all the way from head to toe and is a pliable structure which slips and slides over your muscles which is similar to an elastic spider’s web. Because your fascia reaches into every part of you, if there is tightness in one area the rest of your body may be affected.

Injury, staying in positions for a period of time (for example sitting at a desk), poor posture, and repetitive sport can damage and tighten your fascia. This then causes your fascia to thicken and can tighten which can cause pain. These tight areas of muscle can 'pinch' nerves in areas such as your middle back (thoracic area), thigh and hamstring muscles, and buttock.

In myofascial pain syndrome, pressure on sensitive points or knots in your muscles (trigger points) causes pain in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. This is called referred pain.

Advice & Treatment

Stretch, stretch and more stretch. Because your fascia is like an enormous spider web which reaches into every area of your body, activities such as yoga will stretch your body lengthways. Your muscles can hold pockets of stiffness which pull on your fascia, so loosening out your muscle knots will help to relax your fascia.

Once you have eased out your body and your trigger points are gone, exercises to improve your core area muscle strength will support your body and help to prevent further problems.

Other effective treatments:

  • Dry needling (using acupuncture needles to release your trigger points)
  • Massage therapy to loosen off your trigger points
  • Stretching and exercise is useful for recovering your flexibility full range of motion and motor coordination
  • As myofascial pain syndrome is usually a long standing problem, there is evidence that some medications designed to relieve long standing pain can help
  • Improving your posture and
  • Improving your ergonomics may also offer significant relief
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