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Causes of Myofascial Pain

causes of myofascial pain

Myofascial pain is the most prevalent muscle pain disorder and yet this disorder is not completely understood. Myofascial pain typically arises from muscle trigger points that are much localized areas in the muscle tissues or tendons. The muscle around these hypersensitive areas is usually hard and can appear as a nodule or as a taut band. The cause and etiology of myofascial pain is complex and it is considered to be multi-factorial. Often when the muscle pain becomes chronic, the central nervous system (CNS) can become the origin of the pain. For treatment to be effective, it is crucial that the clinician recognizes that in the case of the myofascial pain, the pain in the muscle is influenced by the CNS.

The trigger points are unique in a sense that they are a source of constant pain and in general result in a predictable pain referral pattern according to their location. For example a headache felt in the temples may be caused by myofascial trigger point pain in the neck area that refers pain to the temples. Or pain that is felt in the temporomandibular joint can be in reality coming from the facial muscles. Therefore, the clinician should always search for the source of the pain and not the site.

What Can Cause Myofascial Pain?

There are certain local and systemic factors that can cause myofascial pain. These include the following but not limited to:

  • Low levels of certain vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamins B1, B6 and B12
  • Iron deficiency and anemia
  • Emotional stress
  • Chronic infection-viral, bacterial or parasitic
  • Prolonged immobility
  • Poor posture
  • Repetitive overuse injury
  • Increased use of a muscle or strain on the muscle
  • Direct trauma-motor vehicle accidents, slip, trip and falls and unexpected incidents while playing contact sports
  • Indirect trauma-clenching and grinding teeth
  • Impaired sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Nerve impingement

When Does a Trigger Point Become Active?

A trigger point can be either active or latent. Trigger points do not resole without the proper treatment. They can become latent or dormant giving a temporary relief of the referred pain meaning that they are not sensitive to palpation. However, the trigger points can become active by various factors such as injury, abuse of muscles, emotional stress or even poor sleep.

If you are from Los Angeles or Santa Monica and you feel you are experiencing the symptoms of chronic myofascial pain, then you may seek or consult with our doctors at our Los Angeles pain clinic.