Myofascial pain syndrome vs fibromyalgia – differences

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Myofascial pain syndrome vs fibromyalgia - differences

Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS)

It is a chronic pain condition that affects the musculoskeletal system. MPS is characterized by chronic pain in multiple fascial constrictions and myofascial trigger points.

The pain associated with the syndrome usually occurs in the head, shoulders, neck, legs, arms and lower back. MPS can involve a single muscle or a muscle group.


According to statisticsMore than 45 million people in the United States have symptoms associated with MPS. Females are more susceptible to experiencing MPS than males.

The symptoms

Signs and symptoms of MPS can include:

difficulty sleeping due to pain; a tender knot in a muscle; pain that gets worse or persists; deep, painful pain in a muscle.


The most common complication of this syndrome is a limited range of movement of the affected area. In addition, some studies concluded that MPS can develop into fibromyalgia in some patients.


That could develop by a muscular injury, as well as by an excessive tension in a muscle, tendon or ligament in particular. Other possible causes include:

lack of activity (like – a broken arm in a sling); damage to the intervertebral discs; medical conditions (including stomach irritation and heart attack); Repetitive movements; General fatigue

MPS can be aggravated by multiple causes, as:

metabolic problems (including hypothyroidism and vitamin deficiencies); bad sleep habits; postural abnormalities (at home, at the workplace or during recreational activities); muscle deconditioning; repetitive microtrauma; Acute tissue trauma.


MPS is diagnosed based on the areas of complaints of muscle pain. In addition, your health care provider will ask how long you have had the pain, if you have had a recent injury, if you have any other symptoms, and what makes it worse or better.


Talk to your health professional about the best methods to treat your pain. Some of the treatment options include:

ultrasound; Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation; trigger point injections: during this treatment, a healthcare provider injects a local anesthetic at the point of activation; physiotherapy: you can learn how to improve your posture, adjust your workstation or change your sleeping position; massage therapy: uses trigger point release methods that can be effective in short-term pain relief; Hypnosis – can help you relax; Cooling spray: involves the use of a cooling spray directly on the skin from the trigger point to the painful area (a commonly used spray is Biofreeze); Cognitive-behavioral therapy: can teach you how to change your thoughts about the pain you are experiencing.

Note – Symptoms that persist for more than 180 days may take around 7 years of treatment.


Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain throughout the body.


It affects 3 to 5% of the general population. In addition, it is 7 times more likely to hit women than men.

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The symptoms

Common symptoms include:

headaches, including migraines; digestive problems, such as: constipation, abdominal pain and even IBS; pain in the jaw or face, including temporomandibular joint syndrome; numbness or tingling in the feet and hands; problems with memory, thinking and concentration; problems sleeping; anxiety; depression; fatigue; fatigue; Rigidity and pain throughout the body.

When to call the doctor

Consult a doctor if you experience any of the following signs and symptoms:

you are unable to think clearly or concentrate; you have not restful sleep; you are chronic fatigue; the pain is causing you anxiety, emotional stress or depression; You have an intense pain that interferes with your daily life.


People with fibromyalgia commonly develop complications, which include:

irritable bowel syndrome, a gastrointestinal condition that causes bloating, abdominal pain, as well as changes in bowel habits; Uneasy leg syndrome, in which you feel tingling, pain and other sensations in the lower extremities.


According to studies, the involvement of the nervous system, especially the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain) is associated with fibromyalgia.

Risk factor's

Factors that increase the likelihood that someone will develop the condition include:

Other diseases: according to studies, approximately 20% of people with some forms of arthritis or lupus also develop fibromyalgia; Family history: A study conducted in 2015 found that approximately 33 percent of children whose mothers have the disorder also develop fibromyalgia; age: when the disorder occurs in children, it tends to start between 11 and 15 years, but the disorder usually occurs in early adulthood or middle age; gender – the disorder is substantially more frequent in women.


Health professionals suspect the disorder in people who have the following:

fatigue as the main symptom; In spite of the generalized symptoms, the results of the laboratory tests are negative; Tenderness and generalized pain.


There is no cure for the disorder, however, the treatment can help to control the symptoms and improve the quality of life and the general health of the patient. Some of the treatments include:


A counselor can help you teach you strategies to cope with the mental and emotional effects of your condition.

Physical therapysecond

Water-based exercises can help reduce the chances of additional stresses in the body that aggravate pain. In addition, other exercises can improve the overall strength, flexibility and strength levels of your body.

Occupational therapy

This treatment can be useful for making adjustments in the way you perform certain tasks.

Methods to relieve stress

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This may include tai chi, yoga, breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation and acupuncture.

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Anticonvulsant medications

These medications can be prescribed for this disorder because they help alleviate its debilitating effects. The approved anticonvulsant medication is pregabalin (Lyrica).


Fatigue and pain can be treated with antidepressant medications. They also help to promote a better sleep. The approved antidepressants are: milnacipran (Savella) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).

Medications to relieve painF

These can be prescribed or over the counter medications. Over-the-counter medications that can help with fibromyalgia include:

naproxen; ibuprofen; aspirin; acetaminophen.

Sleep well

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To improve the quality of your sleep, limit naps during the day, go to bed and get up at the same time every day (even during the weekend).

Also, avoid sugary drinks and caffeine (found in coffee, chocolate, energy drinks and some teas) just before bedtime.


Avoid unhealthy foods, including fried foods, saturated fats and alcoholic beverages. The diet should include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains, which include:

Red beans; broccoli; Garlic; carrots; White beans; radishes; apples; mangoes; pineapples; papayas pears; onions plums; tomatoes sweet peppers; Cayenne peppers; zucchini watermelons; Swiss chard cauliflower; sweet potatoes; potatoes; cabbage; kale; Spinach; Quinoa; oat bran; oatmeal; turmeric; ginger.

Conclusion: myofascial pain syndrome versus fibromyalgiare

Myofascial pain syndrome is a painful condition that affects the connective tissue that covers the muscles. The common symptoms of the syndrome include:

sleep disorders; deep pain in localized areas of the muscles; humor changes; muscles that are weak, inflexible, rigid, or that have a reduced range of motion; presence of painful knots in the muscles that produce intense localized pain; Muscle pain that gets worse over time; Pain that gets worse when the affected muscle is tense or stretched.

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain throughout the body, fatigue (extreme tiredness), problems sleeping and mental and emotional disorders. Other symptoms include:

irritable bowel syndrome; headaches problems with memory and concentration; muscular stiffness; Increased sensitivity to pain

In conclusion, these conditions seem to be very similar. For example, both:

they are accompanied by other painful conditions, such as arthritis, headaches, chronic fatigue and degenerative disc disease; It produces a greater response to painful stimuli; You have generalized muscle tension and pain.

However, fibromyalgia causes asymmetric and diffuse muscle pain that involves both sides of the body, while MPS typically involves muscles in areas of the body that are focal or asymmetric.

Unfortunately, often both are not diagnosed correctly. In addition, both conditions benefit from maintaining a regular program of physical therapy.


Myofascial pain syndrome versus fibromyalgia – Differences, Source:

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