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Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a common musculoskeletal disorder caused by myofascial trigger points.1 This painful disorder can affect any of the skeletal muscles in the body and the prevalence varies by medical specialty—it accounts for 21% of orthopedic clinic visits, 30% of general medicine visits, and approximately 85% to 93% of pain management clinic visits.2 MPS has become a major cause of time lost from work, resulting in a loss of millions of dollars from the economy.
The pathophysiology of MPS is not completely understood. It is currently hypothesized that trigger points, the most common feature of MPS, contain areas of sensitized low-threshold nociceptors (free nerve endings) with dysfunctional motor end plates. These motor end plates connect to a group of sensitized sensory neurons in charge of transmitting pain information from the spinal cord to the brain.