Comparing Myofascial Pain Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

Myofascial Pain Syndrome, fibromyalgia chiropractic

Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) and fibromyalgia are among American patients' leading causes of pain. They share several similarities, making it exceptionally difficult for some people to distinguish their respective symptoms.

If you can relate to this scenario, you might find it helpful to go through our guide below. This way, you can learn the differences between fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome and determine whether you need a fibromyalgia chiropractic doctor, neurologist, physical therapist, or other healthcare providers.


Myofascial Pain Syndrome vs. Fibromyalgia

Both fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome are chronic pain disorders. They cause similar symptoms, including muscle pain, poor sleep, irritable bowel syndrome, and pins and needles sensation. While they might appear like the same health issues, doctors and researchers note that you can quickly tell them apart by looking at the number of affected body parts.  

Notably, MPS only causes pain in localized areas like the shoulders, arms, legs, and thighs. On the other hand, fibromyalgia triggers widespread body pain that can last up to several weeks. Besides this characteristic, here are other distinguishing features of MPS vs. fibromyalgia:

Pain mechanism

Fibromyalgia causes tenderness in the pain points because of a central nervous system problem, while MPS triggers pain due to the uncontrolled release of acetylcholine. It also increases the production of vasoactive chemicals, which heightens pain sensitivity.

Symptoms timeline

Both fibromyalgia and MPS can last for up to months. However, case studies note that fibromyalgia symptoms can continue to wreak havoc longer than the MPS symptoms. Furthermore, they don’t cause the same type of pain. Fibromyalgia causes widespread body pain that primarily affects tender points like the lower neck, chest, knees, hip bones, and upper buttocks. 

On the one hand, MPS primarily affects the taut and ropey muscle fibers such as those found in the upper neck and back, jaws, and neck. These trigger points, when activated, cause excruciating bouts of pain.

The symmetry of the pain points

Many case studies note that fibromyalgia causes pain on both sides of the body. So, if you experience tenderness in the left side, you will most likely experience the same on the opposite side. On the other hand, Myofascial pain syndrome only affects selected parts of the body.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome, fibromyalgia chiropractic






What To Do When You Have Fibromyalgia or Myofascial Pain Syndrome

If you suspect having MPS or fibromyalgia, we suggest consulting with a physician or neurologist right away. The sooner you can figure out what sort of chronic pain disorder you have, the faster you can find a suitable remedy to use. Here’s how doctors diagnose fibromyalgia and myofascial pain:

Fibromyalgia Diagnosis

To date, doctors still don’t have a standard test to diagnose fibromyalgia. So, they use several diagnostic procedures that focus on checking the blood. Qualitative blood tests help physicians detect things like thyroid abnormalities and a patient’s rheumatoid factor. It can also indicate erythrocyte sedimentation rate to gauge the body’s inflammatory response. 

Depending on the severity of the situation, your doctor might also require a celiac serology blood. Doctors do this to detect IgA antibodies, a key indicator of celiac disease, a common co-morbidity of fibromyalgia. 

Your physician might refer you to other healthcare professionals based on the findings. Some examples of the usual go-to people for fibromyalgia relief include a fibromyalgia chiropractic practitioner, physical therapist, or rheumatologist. 

Myofascial Pain Syndrome Diagnosis

Do you think your painful symptoms indicate MPS? Heading to your primary doctor’s office might help you figure out whether you have it or not. Unlike in diagnosing fibromyalgia, MPS doesn’t require doing blood work. Instead, doctors physically examine the muscles to look for knots and tender spots. 

They might also put pressure on the identified MPS trigger points, such as the following:

  • Active trigger points – These points are located inside muscle fibers and cause immediate localized pain when pressed for a few seconds.  
  • Latent trigger points – Most physicians refer to these as the dormant MPS trigger points. 
  • Secondary trigger points – Doctors find these near active trigger points. As a result, they can get stimulated simultaneously with the active trigger sites. 
  • Satellite trigger points – These spots overlap with active ones, so they don’t react to pressure. 

Useful Remedies for Fibromyalgia or Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Once you have a clear grasp of your condition, it’s easier to figure out the next steps. In most cases, primary care doctors provide referrals to other healthcare professionals like chiropractors and rheumatologists. To get a better overview of your options, check out the usual remedies used by patients with myofascial pain syndrome or fibromyalgia: 

  • Receiving upper cervical chiropractic care
  • Taking pain relievers and muscle relaxants
  • Using trigger point injections
  • Trying yoga, acupuncture, and mindfulness exercise
  • Seeking physical therapy treatment


Find a Fibromyalgia Chiropractic Doctor to Help You!

Getting diagnosed with either fibromyalgia or MPS can be an overwhelming experience. The symptoms can also take a significant toll on your overall well-being. Thankfully, you have great remedy options available should you plan on starting your fibromyalgia or MPS recovery journey. 

One excellent example of a relief option you should pursue is upper cervical care. It works wonders for pain management, especially for people with fibromyalgia and MPS. Essentially, it fixes misalignments in the cervical spine, a critical part of the body that can impinge on the brainstem, spinal cords, and nerve roots.  

By ensuring that your head doesn’t tilt at an awkward angle (because of an off-centered C1 and C2 bone), you can also prevent muscle twisting on your neck, shoulders, and upper back. This can help you alleviate the pressure on your muscle fibers and help ensure smooth and pain-free movements. 

If you have tried every pain remedy available but were unsuccessful in getting lasting relief, we recommend giving upper cervical care a try. It’s practical and provides lasting relief for even the most debilitating conditions like MPS and fibromyalgia. 

Are you ready to tap into fibromyalgia chiropractic care? Do you need help coping with MPS with upper cervical care? Locate the nearest upper cervical chiropractic practitioner from where you live and schedule your first-ever consultation today!


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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.