Myofascial Pain Syndromes




Review Sections

Myofascial Pain Syndromes Icon    Myofascial Pain Syndromes

Myofascial pain syndrome is a very commonly occurring disorder which is characterized by the presence of a tender nodule in a taut band of muscle known as a trigger point. Pain is felt on compression of the trigger point as well as in a characteristic referred pain pattern. Prevalence of myofascial pain is high with as with as many as 30% of patients seen with pain complaints suffering from myofascial pain (1).

(1) Skootsky SA, Jaeger B, Oye RK. Prevalence of myofascial pain in general internal medicine practice. West J Med 1989; 151(2):157-160.

Clinical Reviews

Myofascial Pain Syndromes: Prevention

During the 1930’s and 40’s three researchers, working independently in Germany, Australia, and the United States, established myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) as commonly occurring pain generators. Of these Janet Travell, M.D. emerged as the best known proponent of treating and reducing MTrPs in order to eliminate muscular pain in many patients. David Simons M.D. collaborated with Travell for well over 20 years and has now assumed the role chief proponent and investigator of myofascial pain syndrome. Although MTrPs have been identified and studied for nearly 70 years and many physicians and researchers acknowledge their role in pain, universal acceptance is still lacking. For the most part the scientific literature relating to risk factors and prevention has been limited to expert opinion, tradition and consensus. The source for most of the risk factors and prevention strategies mentioned below are from the Travell & Simons seminal text, The Trigger Point Manual and repeated by numerous other authors in the scientific literature.

Myofascial Pain Syndromes: Diagnosis

A thorough case history and clinical examination are required to accurately diagnose myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). Since MPS mimics many other conditions, early recognition can reduce the need for more invasive and expensive diagnostic procedures. Myofascial pain syndrome is characterized by deep aching pain, stiffness in the involved area and referred pain often appearing as radiation of pain. In later stages muscle weakness often develops as well as fatigue and sleep disturbances.

Myofascial Pain Syndromes: Therapy

A 2000 survey of pain management providers showed 88.5% considered myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) a valid diagnosis and 81% considered it distinct from fibromyalgia. Although various interventions in MPS have been described in the scientific literature as effective, many are based on a limited number of experimental studies with clinical evidence and expert opinion representing much of the evidence.

Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) Information

MeSH Term: Myofascial Pain Syndromes

Scope Note: Muscular pain in numerous body regions that can be reproduced by pressure on TRIGGER POINTS, localized hardenings in skeletal muscle tissue. Pain is referred to a location distant from the trigger points. A prime example is the TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DYSFUNCTION SYNDROME.

MeSH Synonyms:
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • Pain Syndrome, Myofascial
  • Pain Syndromes, Myofascial
  • Syndrome, Myofascial Pain
  • Syndromes, Myofascial Pain
  • Myofascial Trigger Point Pain
  • Trigger Point Pain, Myofascial
Applicable MeSH Subheadings:
  • analysis
  • anatomy and histology
  • blood
  • chemically induced
  • classification
  • complications
  • congenital
  • diagnosis
  • diagnostic imaging
  • diet therapy
  • drug therapy
  • economics
  • embryology
  • enzymology
  • epidemiology
  • ethnology
  • etiology
  • genetics
  • history
  • immunology
  • metabolism
  • microbiology
  • nursing
  • organization and administration
  • pathology
  • physiology
  • physiopathology
  • prevention and control
  • psychology
  • radiotherapy
  • rehabilitation
  • statistics and numerical data
  • surgery
  • therapy
  • urine
  • veterinary

Informative Links

Arrow Myofascial Pain Syndrome Information

Mayo Clinic Health Solutions' award-winning consumer Web site offers health information and self-improvement tools.'s medical experts and editorial professionals bring you access to the knowledge and experience of Mayo Clinic for all your consumer health information needs, from cancer, diabetes and heart disease to nutrition, exercise and pregnancy.

MedlinePlus: Muscle Disorders

MedlinePlus will direct you to information to help answer health questions. MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations.

Current Clinical Trials Relating to  Myofascial Pain Syndromes Provides patients, family members, and members of the public easy and free access to information on clinical studies for a wide range of diseases and conditions.


Work-Related Fibromyalgia

(Status: Recruiting)


Prevalence of Fibromyalgia in Israel

(Status: Unknown status)


Yoga for Fibromyalgia

(Status: Completed)


Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia

(Status: Unknown status)


Exercise, Acupuncture and Fibromyalgia

(Status: Unknown status)


Dextromethorphan in Fibromyalgia

(Status: Recruiting)


Sensory Stimulation in Fibromyalgia

(Status: Not yet recruiting)


Fibromyalgia Acupuncture Study

(Status: Completed)

100 Clinical Trials Returned