Myofascial Pain Syndrome (Muscle Pain): Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Suffering from pain of any type can be difficult to handle. Sometimes the pain may be minor and can be worked through, while other times it can debilitating and hard to handle. One chronic condition that involves muscle pain that many deal with is called Myofascial pain syndrome. This involves inflammation that is in the soft tissues of the body and cause pain in different areas. It could involve one particular muscular area or a group of muscles causing pain. Here are a few things you should know if you’re dealing with muscle pain or if you think you’re dealing with myofascial pain.

Causes and Symptoms

The causes of myofascial pain can be due to an injury or strain of a muscle in the body. It could be due to repetitive motions that injury the muscle groups being used, an excessive strain that is put on the muscle, tendon or even ligaments, or it can be due to inactivity in a group of muscles. This could be due to having an injury to your arm and not being able to move it due to the cast or sling you’re having to wear.

This type of muscle pain provides “trigger” points that are the symptom of the problem. It can produce pain in these specific areas, or it can also produce other problems such as depression, behavioral problems, or fatigue due to the pain the patient is in.

When you’re being examined for myofascial pain, you may have two types of trigger points, active or latent. The active trigger point is very tender when manipulated whereas the latent trigger point can cause problems but isn’t causing them at the time. It is basically lying in wait to cause problems with pain.

Treatment Options

There are several options available to treat this type of muscle pain depending on what you’re dealing with at the time. You can opt for massage therapy to help reduce the trigger points and work out the kinks in the muscles. There’s physical therapy to help you gain movement back in those muscles if you’ve dealt with an injury that restricted your movement. You may also find that trigger point injection therapy works well for you. This is where the doctor will inject either anesthetic, saline, or corticosteroids into the trigger point and make it dormant so that it doesn’t cause pain any more.

One other method that may be used is the “spray and stretch” method. This is where the trigger point is sprayed with a cooling type spray and then it is slowly stretched out.

You can also take anti-inflammatory medications to assist with the pain as well.

Causes and Symptoms of Compartment Syndrome

Compartment syndrome is a serious medical condition that occurs when excessive pressure builds up from within the body. This is usually due to conditions such as bleeding or swelling following an injury, causing blood to gush to the injury site. This unusually large pressure will constrict blood vessels and decrease blood flow, depriving cells from getting adequate amounts of oxygen and nutrients. Compartment syndrome is classified into acute and chronic cases. In acute cases, it is an emergency and is often caused by injury requiring immediate medical treatment to prevent permanent damages. In chronic cases however, it is usually caused by repetitive motions and is not an emergency.


Acute compartment syndrome

Acute compartment syndrome is usually due to a severe injury such as a high impact car accident or sports injury. It is also the most common form of compartment syndrome and will develop rapidly over hours.

Acute compartment syndrome can also develop after injuries including:

  • Fractures
  • Bruised muscle
  • Crush injuries
  • Prolonged compression of a limb after prolonged period of unconsciousness
  • Surgery to blood vessels of an arm or leg
  • Blood clot(s) in a blood vessel in an arm or leg
  • Anabolic steroid usage
  • Constricting bandages
  • Extremely vigorous exercises

Chronic compartment syndrome

Chronic compartment syndrome develops over a longer period of time and is usually caused by exercises such as running, swimming or cycling. It usually involves the lower body core muscles such as the gluteus maximus muscles, thigh and calf muscles. It may cause cramps during exercising but will go away once the activity is stopped.



Acute compartment syndrome

The symptoms for acute compartment syndrome is usually pain when the affected muscle is stretched. Usually, the pain will be much more intense that pain from the injury and a burning sensation could be felt. The affected muscle will able be tight and stiff and at times, numbness can be felt.

Chronic compartment syndrome

Symptoms of chronic compartment syndrome include aching or cramping in the affected muscle within a half an hour of the exercise starting. The symptoms will usually go away with rest and muscle functions will remain normal. There might also be visible muscle bulging and moving the foot might be difficult.

Compartment syndrome is a medical condition that cannot be prevented. However, early diagnosis and treatment will help to prevent many of the complications and patients must be aware of some of the most common symptoms.