Myofascial pain is a type of muscular pain that affects the areas of the face and jaw, often caused by a trigger point of localized tenderness within one of the many muscles of the face. Chronic myofascial pain can cause pain so severe that it makes it difficult for patients to go about their daily lives. Current research today has concluded that over 44 million people living within the United States are currently doing so with chronic myofascial pain, or CMP. For most of these patients, the trigger points which cause their pain to arise are located with the musculature of the face and jaw, making it the most common muscular pain disorder which people can suffer from.
Attacks from CMP can occur during injuries to the affected region, or even repetitive movements, which cause strain. This makes myofascial pain a constant nuisance to those who suffer from it, as the muscles in our face and jaw are the ones most often used in our entire body. The muscles that control our jaws are what allow our bodies to eat and speak. Pain that occurs from these movements is felt as a deep ache in your muscle and can spread to the surrounding muscle group. Recent scientific studies have shown that the pain triggers of chronic myofascial pain disorder may be a component of tension-type headaches, as well as back pain, postural pain, and other conditions. Tension-type headaches are the most common type of headache, experienced by nine out of ten adults in their lifetimes. However, despite these causes, 45 percent of women and 55 percent of men who experience chronic myofascial pain report that their triggers of debilitating attacks are entirely asymptomatic, meaning they do not experience symptoms at all.
Chronic myofascial pain is more common than most of us believe, although it is a very complicated illness, it can be managed with proper care. Many who suffer from chronic myofascial pain go entirely undiagnosed by assuming it will simply go away on its own, but with CMP this simply is not the case. With a proper diagnosis of the condition, patients can receive the care they need in order to live their lives without constant aches and pains in their face. Diagnosing CMP can often be done through a physical exam, though further tests may be needed to rule out other possible suspects behind the patient’s pain. Treatments for chronic myofascial pain are not invasive or surgical. Doctors will most often recommend physical therapy to help repair and strengthen joints and muscles to make them more resilient to damage, which is often the cause of chronic myofascial pain. More severe cases of CMP can be treated through oral appliances and medications to effectively manage CMP symptoms.