Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I saw a physician's assistant to find out what's causing my muscle aches and pains. She said I have trigger points and a problem called myofascial pain syndrome. But except for asking me questions and pushing on my muscles, she didn't do any other tests. Should I make an appointment to see the doctor?

Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a term used to describe a condition of chronic muscle pain. The painful symptoms are caused by trigger points (TrPs). TrPs are sensitive points in the muscle or fascia covering the muscle. They form as a result of repetitive motions or immobility such as when your arm or leg is in a cast.

When pressed, TrPs cause immediate pain. Often the pain occurs where the pressure is being applied and in other areas of the body at the same time. This type of local pain response with distant pain is called referred pain.

At the present time, there isn't a gold standard diagnostic test for TrPs and MPS. The patient's report of symptoms and local testing for TrPs are the main diagnostic tools used. No lab tests have been found effective. EMG studies have wide ranging responses from patient to patient and can't be relied upon.

Most times the diagnosis is confirmed by the patient's response to treatment. If your painful symptoms are improved with TrP therapy, then it's likely you had MPS. If after seeing a physical therapist for TrP therapy, you aren't any better, then it may be time to see a medical doctor.


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