Myofascial pain and fibromyalgia: two different but overlapping disorders

Pain Manag. 2016 May;6(4):401-8. doi: 10.2217/pmt-2016-0013. Epub 2016 Jun 14.


There is good evidence supporting that people with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) exhibit central sensitization. The role of peripheral nociception is under debate in FMS. It seems that widespread pain experienced in FMS is considered multiple regional pains; therefore, several authors proposed that muscles play a relevant role in FMS. Trigger points (TrPs) have long been a contentious issue in relation to FMS. Preliminary evidence reported that the overall spontaneous pain is reproduced by referred pain from active TrPs, suggesting that FMS pain is largely composed of pain arising, at least partially, from TrPs. Finally, there is preliminary evidence suggesting that management of TrPs is able to modulate the CNS and is effective for reducing pain in FMS, although results are conflicting and future studies are clearly needed.

Keywords: CNS sensitization; fibromyalgia; trigger points.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Sensitization*
  • Facial Pain / etiology
  • Facial Pain / physiopathology*
  • Fibromyalgia / etiology
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / etiology
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Nociception
  • Trigger Points / physiopathology*