Myofascial pain occurs when the nerve that is connected to the muscle becomes irritated and small nodules or contractures form, causing the muscle to bunch-up and become painful. These contractures are called trigger points. Trigger points will often refer pain in distant locations. For example it is very common for jaw muscles with myofascial pain to refer pain into the teeth or ears. In addition to pain, muscles with myofascial pain also fatigue more easily and have decreased strength and range of motion.
Myofascial pain within the jaw muscles can also be associated with many other autonomic symptoms such as dizziness, ringing in the ears, eye twitching, sweating, nausea, and tearing. Tension headaches in the temples are usually the result of myofascial pain within the temporalis muscle, which is a jaw closing muscle. Myofascial pain may also trigger other headaches such as migraines.
The cause of myofascial pain is over-stimulation of the nerve connected to the muscle. This can occur when the muscle is either, chronically strained such as in teeth clenching or poor posture, or through an acute trauma. Additionally, nerve or joint pain and dysfunction can be a cause of Myofascial pain.
Treatments are aimed at decreasing any joint influences or repetitive strain (clenching or gum chewing) and through massage, stretching, heat, ultrasound, trigger point injections, IMS, medications and Botox.