A Comprehensive Review of the Treatment and Management of Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2020 Jun 27;24(8):43. doi: 10.1007/s11916-020-00877-5.


Purpose of review: Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a musculoskeletal pain condition that stems from localized, taut regions of skeletal muscle and fascia, termed trigger points. The purpose of this comprehensive review is to provide updated information on prevalence, pathophysiology, and treatment modalities with a focus on interventional modalities in managing MPS.

Recent findings: Though MPS can present acutely, it frequently presents as a chronic condition, affecting up to 85% of adults during their lifetime. MPS is an often-overlooked component of pain with overarching effects on society, including patient quality of life, physical and social functioning, emotional well-being, energy, and costs on health care. The prevalence of MPS is generally increased among patients with other chronic pain disorders and has been associated with various other conditions such as bladder pain syndrome, endometriosis, and anxiety. MPS is poorly understood and remains a challenging condition to treat. Non-pharmacologic treatment modalities such as acupuncture, massage, transcutaneous electrical stimulation, and interferential current therapy may offer relief to some patients with MPS. Additional studies are warranted to get a better understanding of managing myofascial pain.

Keywords: Chronic pain; Musculoskeletal pain; Myofascial pain syndrome; Trigger points.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine Release Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Acupuncture Therapy
  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / therapeutic use
  • Biofeedback, Psychology
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / therapeutic use
  • Dry Needling
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy
  • Humans
  • Massage
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / therapy*
  • Neuromuscular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation


  • Acetylcholine Release Inhibitors
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Neuromuscular Agents
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A