Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic form of muscle pain involving muscles and their surrounding connective tissue. While there is no way to accurately cite how prevalent myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is, experts suspect that it is the most common representation of chronic pain in the clinic. A range of different types of healthcare practitioners are often recruited to help MPS; however, bodyworkers are among the most likely providers to deliver lasting pain relief for clients with MPS.
About Myofascial Pain
Myofascial pain is characterized by sensitive points known as trigger points. One of the distinguishing factors of MPS is muscle pain that persists beyond several days or worsens with time. Additional indicators of myofascial pain syndrome may include:
- Deep, aching pain in a muscle
- Joint stiffness near the affected muscle
- Areas of tension in a muscle that are sensitive and feel like a knot
- Muscle stiffness or weakness with a tendency to drop objects without signs of muscle atrophy
- Difficulty sleeping due to pain
Depending on the affected muscle group, the following symptoms can be secondary to MPS:
- Earaches or tinnitus
- Facial or dental pain
- Shortness of breath
- Vision problems
Of course, clients with shortness of breath, dizziness or vision problems should always be evaluated by a qualified physician prior to bodywork administration.
There are a few options when it comes to treatment of trigger points and MPS, including:
- Low-level laser therapy or ultrasound
- Trigger point injections
- Spray and stretch
- Massage therapy
Massage therapists have access to a range of techniques that can eliminate trigger points and, thus, benefit those with MPS. Two bodywork approaches have been reported to be especially effective for those with MPS:
- Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) – Also known as trigger point therapy, NMT usually involves static pressure to interrupt the neural signals that cause both the trigger point and the pain.
- Myofascial Release – Typically involving a slow, gentle stretch of the myofascial tissue, this technique is well known for its ability to help MPS.
Myofascial pain syndrome is behind many chronic pain problems. Upon identifying the presence of one or more trigger points, bodyworkers who use neuromuscular therapy together with myofascial release can offer their clients with MPS a recognized route towards being pain-free.