Myofascial Pain

Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder that can be caused by poor posture, overuse or injury in a particular skeletal muscle, and can also be due to stress-related tension. As a result, cold, fatigue or pressure on sensitive points in that muscle triggers what is known as referred pain in unrelated parts of the body.

Described as deep and aching, myofascial pain differs from common muscle tension pain because it persists and often gets worse (chronic), which can lead to difficulty sleeping and everyday activities.

Diagnosis of Myofascial Pain Syndrome
After a thorough medical history, your doctor will perform a physical examination that includes testing the strength and range of motion of the affected muscle(s), as well as applying gentle pressure to the trigger points to see if they elicit predictable twitching and pain responses. To rule out other medical causes of the muscle pain, other tests may be performed.

Treatment Options for Myofascial Pain Syndrome
In addition to gentle exercise, physical therapy, a healthy diet and relaxation techniques, relief may come from a combination of the following methods:

  • Injecting an anesthetic and steroid into a trigger point numbs the area, reduces pain and helps reduce inflammation.
  • Physical therapy may include stretching exercises, posture training, as well as massage, heat application or acupuncture to help the muscle(s) relax.
  • Medications for myofascial pain syndrome include pain relievers (ibuprofen) and antidepressants (amitriptyline), along with a sedative (clonazepam) to make sleep easier.


Our physicians at Houston Methodist specialize in managing myofascial pain at the following convenient locations.