Chronic myofascial pain (CMP) is a chronic pain disease characterized by trigger points in the musculature causing pain in distinct areas of the body. Pain symptoms of CMP can be severe and debilitating. While much of the underlying mechanics of myofascial pain is not clearly understood, research suggests that symptoms are derived from the existence of trigger points within muscles, which are activated by injury or repetitive strain to muscles. It is generally understood that while one trigger point may be responsible for an experience of myofascial pain, it is more commonly a network of several trigger points that contribute to pain in a given region.
Chronic myofascial pain is a complex but manageable disease. Professional attention can help narrow down the causes of chronic pain and make a positive diagnosis of CMP based on physical examination and additional procedures to rule out alternative sources of a patient's pain symptoms. Several treatment options, including physical therapy, oral appliances, and medications, can be leveraged as part of a comprehensive management plan.
The jaw movement animation was developed by a medical illustrator under the guidance of Dr. Hirschinger.