How to identify Myofascial Syndrome and how treatment is done

Myofascial pain, also called myofascial syndrome, is a muscle pain that manifests itself when a specific point on the body is pressed, this point being known as the trigger point, which corresponds to a small lump in the muscles that, when palpated, can feel a bounce and result in local pain that radiates to other parts of the body.

Usually, the formation of trigger points can be related to several factors, such as poor posture at work, excessive exercise, repetitive movements or blows, for example. This type of pain is more common in the back, shoulders and neck and can be easily treated by stretching, physiotherapy and changing habits.

How to identify myofascial pain

Symptoms of myofascial pain tend to get worse with movement or exercise, however when the injury remains for more than 12 weeks, pain and discomfort may arise even when the person is at rest. Other signs and symptoms of myofascial pain are:

  • Increased tension in the sore muscle (muscle stiffness);
  • Decreased range of motion;
  • Pain when pressing the sore point;
  • Hard points in the muscles that can be felt through a rebound when pressing the entire muscle band (trigger points);
  • Muscle contraction when inserting the needle or performing a transverse palpation;
  • Pain relief when stretching the muscle.

The diagnosis of myofascial pain can be made by the doctor or physiotherapist through palpation and observation of the painful place, but although imaging tests are not necessary, the physiotherapist can perform some tests that show the painful syndrome.

Which leads to the formation of trigger points

There are several factors that can lead to the formation of trigger points, which may be due to psychological factors such as changes in the organism or as a result of blows, in addition to being also strongly related to situations related to the professional activity performed.

Therefore, stress, excessive tiredness, changes in sleep and tension, as well as posture and repetitive movements can lead to the formation of trigger points. In addition, these points can be formed due to stroke, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, muscle problems or after performing surgery, for example.

How to treat myofascial pain

The treatment for myofascial pain must be done by the orthopedist and the physiotherapist, aiming at relieving pain and discomfort through the use of medications, stretching and myofascial release techniques, which are performed in physiotherapy sessions.

The main forms of treatment recommended are:

1. Remedies

The doctor can guide the use of painkillers, such as Paracetamol or Dipyrone, or anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Diclofenac, which can be used in the form of pills, ointments or lotions, in addition to muscle relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine. In some cases, the doctor may indicate the infiltration with saline solution directly at the trigger point or use of fluoromethane spray or ethyl chloride, which also guarantee good results.

2. Hot compresses

Putting a hot compress on for about 20 minutes at a time is a good way to relieve muscle pain. It is possible to use this strategy 2 to 3 times a day and immediately afterwards, you should perform the stretches, as this way the elimination of the trigger points can happen more effectively.

3. Stretches

It consists of performing exercises that serve to stretch the muscle and the entire affected region, for 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time. Stretching can be performed passively, which is when another person holds the leg or arm so that the muscle is stretched, or actively when the person stretches the muscle itself.

4. Myofascial release

Pressing and rubbing the muscle and the trigger point are also techniques indicated to combat myofascial pain. In order to cause less pain, the skin can be detached from the muscle during a massage.

Choosing to use balls or rolls is also a good strategy to eliminate the trigger points that give rise to myofascial pain. See how to use the self-massage rollers to fight pain.

5. Other resources

In addition, people can also resort to acupuncture, cryotherapy or electrotherapy with the use of TENS, ultrasound or laser to minimize the pain caused by the trigger points. There are several different techniques that can be used to combat this pain and the massages and self-massages are excellent.