Myofascial pain syndrome is a common condition, with around three million Americans being diagnosed each year. It involves chronic pain in trigger points in the muscle tissue, and is usually diagnosed based on reported symptoms rather than physical tests (like blood tests or scans). Therefore, it can be helpful to both the doctor and patient to identify the causes behind the muscle pain. Sometimes a cause cannot be determined, and medical research still has a long way to go in understanding why this syndrome occurs. However, many potential causes have been identified.
Injuring a muscle can create an area of extremely sensitive muscle tissue known as a trigger point. The muscle fibers become too tight and form chronic knots, which often leads to pain. If this goes on for quite a long time, it can warrant a diagnosis of myofascial pain syndrome. A muscle injury can occur in virtually any part of the body. For example, it can be caused by pulling a muscle during daily activities or by lifting weights with improper form. It can also result from an accident. Any long-term pain in a muscle should be investigated by a doctor, especially if there was a known injury in the area. Bad posture or failure to properly rehabilitate an injured muscle can increase the risk of developing chronic myofascial pain.