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What is myofascial syndrome?

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Myofascial pain syndrome affects the connective tissues of the muscles anywhere in the body, causing pain and, sometimes, inflammation, states Cleveland Clinic. Myofascial pain is often caused by injuries and overuse or repetitive use of the muscles. Fascia putting pressure on the skeletal muscles can also cause myofascial pain, according to Spine-health.

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Myofascial pain syndrome can cause sore muscle areas called active trigger points, which cause pain when the muscles are used, explains WebMD. It can also cause inactive trigger points, which cause muscle weakness and a restricted range of motion. For example, if the patient has trigger points in his shoulder, he may be unable to actively rotate it or raise his arm above his head. X-rays and MRI scans don't help in the diagnosis of myofascial pain syndrome, as these tests don't pick up muscle tension and tightness, states Spine-health.

Health care providers often prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, for symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome, notes Mayo Clinic. If these medications aren't successful in treating the symptoms, a physician may prescribe stronger painkillers. A physician also may prescribe physical therapy, such as stretching exercises. Heat therapy, massage therapy and ultrasound therapy may alleviate symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome.

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