Classification, epidemiology, and natural history of myofascial pain syndrome

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2001 Oct;5(5):412-20. doi: 10.1007/s11916-001-0052-8.


Myofascial pain syndrome is a disease of muscle that produces local and referred pain. It is characterized by a motor abnormality (a taut or hard band within the muscle) and by sensory abnormalities (tenderness and referred pain). It is classified as a musculoskeletal pain syndrome that can be acute or chronic, regional or generalized. It can be a primary disorder causing local or regional pain syndromes, or a secondary disorder that occurs as a consequence of some other condition. When it becomes chronic, it tends to generalize, but it does not change to fibromyalgia. It is a treatable condition that can respond well to manual and injection techniques, but requires attention to postural, ergonomic, and structural factors, and toxic or metabolic factors that impair muscle function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes* / classification
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes* / epidemiology
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes* / physiopathology