Myofascial trigger points are hyperirritable spots located in the fascia (connective tissue) surrounding your muscles. Myofascial pain syndrome refers to the pain and inflammation, specifically around myofascial trigger points and may have developed from injury to the muscle fibers, repetitive motions at work, stress-related tension, or could even be caused by a lack of muscle movement. You may have experienced what feels like knots that are tender to the touch and may worsen with stress or activity, where pain radiates to the region around that point. While many people have experienced tightness and muscle pain, myofascial pain persists or worsens. It’s complicated because it involves soft tissue, and pain and symptoms vary in location and intensity.
- Tender to the touch, persistent knot in a muscle
- Deep and aching pain in your muscles
- Sleeplessness due to chronic muscle pain
- Muscle pain that does not resolve on its own
- Muscle weakness or lacking a full range of motion due to persistent muscle pain
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a thin, elastic connective tissue that connects most structures in the human body, particularly the muscles, which they support and protect. The fascia can become stiff, causing tissues to become restricted, and causing cramping and muscle pain.
Anti-inflammatories lessen pain, and physical therapy or trigger point injection may be prescribed to help alleviate the pain. Predominantly, massage is useful for short-term pain relief, especially when trigger point and stretching are combined.
Massage as a vehicle of prevention
Regular massage could be a viable option to lessen muscle stresses that can lead to developing trigger points. One theory holds that people are more likely to develop myofascial pain when they experience stress, and clench their muscles repeatedly due to stress causing tension, leaving the muscles susceptible to trigger point induced pain.
Reducing stress with massage improves your outlook and gives you more energy, and also assists in relaxation. By relieving chronic tension, massage can help in the prevention of injuries while reducing swelling and inflammation, and lessen the risk of Myofascial pain
Bennett, Robert (2007). “Myofascial pain syndromes and their evaluation”. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology. 21 (3): 427–45
“A critical evaluation of the trigger point phenomenon”. Rheumatology (Oxford). Rheumatology (Oxford). 2015 Mar;54(3):392-9. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keu471. Epub 2014 Dec 3. 54: 392–9