By JAY P. SHAH, MD, and JULIANA HEIMUR, BA
Myofascial pain arises from muscle and its connective tissue. This noninflammatory condition is distinguished from other soft tissue disorders such as fibromyalgia, tendonitis, and bursitis. It presents with regional pain, often present in select quadrants of the body, and is accompanied by increased tension and decreased flexibility in the related muscle and fascia. Myofascial pain may present independently but is often a component of many acute and chronic pain conditions.
Critical in its diagnosis is the presence of one or more myofascial trigger points (MTrPs)—discrete, hyperirritable nodules located in a taut band of skeletal muscle that are palpable during physical examination (Figure 1). Active MTrPs cause spontaneous pain in surrounding tissue and/or distant sites in particular
referral patterns. Latent MTrPs have a similar physical finding, but are only painful upon deep palpation. Both active and latent MTrPs may cause muscle dysfunction, weakness, and a limited range of motion. Click here to learn more.