Here’s how to tell the difference between fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome

Fibromyalgia Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Are you unsure if you have fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome (MPS)? Sometimes it can be tricky to understand the differences between the two. Both of these conditions are chronic and incurable, but with the right treatment plan, the pain can be managed. The causes of these conditions are unknown. They are estimated to affect about 2% to 4% of the general population.


Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes one to feel widespread pain; and myofascial pain syndrome is a condition where one feels pain in their muscles. These similar conditions are often studied in conjunction with one another, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, there are some distinctions between the two.


Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS)

  • Involves regional muscular pain.



  • Involves widespread muscular and joint pain.
  • Frequently involves symptoms like fatigue, mood changes, headaches, numbness, irritable bowels and irregular sleep.


3 physical therapy techniques that can help treat one or both of these conditions


  1. Aquatic therapy — Aquatic therapy can be an effective way to treat both fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome in a way that increases support for your body and reduces physical strain.
  2. Soft tissue mobilization — A physical therapist may use soft tissue mobilization to help either fibromyalgia or MPS. This technique is often compared to a deep tissue massage. It also allows your physical therapist to use their hands to release tension in the affected muscles. As a result, those with fibromyalgia or MPS may feel less pain.
  3. Heat therapy — Applying moderate heat to the different parts of the body can offer fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome relief, increase circulation, and reduce inflammation. This is a technique your physical therapist may encourage you to use at home between sessions.
  4. Aquatic therapy — Doing exercises and stretches in a heated pool of water. Doesn’t sound like something that might help fibromyalgia and MPS sufferers, does it? But it is. This technique is called aquatic therapy. Physical therapists use it because it can help ease pain, reduce muscle tension and improve circulation. All these benefits are ones that fibromyalgia and MPS patients would be thrilled to get.


Contact Border Therapy Services for help managing your pain

If you’re suffering from fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome — even if you’re not sure which one — and don’t know how to manage your pain, you could benefit from physical therapy. Researching treatments online can be helpful, but when those don’t work for you it’s important you seek expert care. At Border Therapy Services, we are trained to treat conditions like your chronic pain. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a specialist who can help or for more information.