Can myofascial pain syndrome be prevented?

There are certain factors that can put you more at risk for developing myofascial pain syndrome. Managing these risk factors may not prevent you from developing the syndrome, but could help reduce the severity of the condition.

Many of the prevention suggestions to follow are also pain management strategies:

  • Maintain proper sleep hygiene.
  • Reduce your stress.
  • Get exercise.
  • Avoid preventable muscle injury. (e.g., is the shoulder bag/purse you carry too heavy and digging into the muscles in your shoulder?).
  • Practice relaxation methods.
  • Eat a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.

Some foods cause inflammation, and inflammation increases myofascial pain. Some foods to avoid include:

  • Fried foods (French fries, for example).
  • Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt).
  • Refined carbohydrates and foods with refined flour (pastries, white bread, pastas, breakfast cereals, pizza).
  • Margarine (butter), vegetable oil.
  • Sugary foods and beverages such as soft drinks.
  • Red meat (burgers, steaks).
  • Artificial sweeteners and general additives (“no sugar added” products, zero-calorie “diet” soft drinks, processed foods that include fruit, ice cream, candy).
  • Processed meat (hot dogs, sausage).

Check your cupboards and your fridge. Empty it of any foods that will increase your myofascial pain syndrome symptoms.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/06/2020.

References

  • National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists. Myofascial Therapy. Accessed 7/1/2020.
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists. Myofascial Pain Syndrome. Accessed 7/1/2020.
  • Bernstein CD, Weiner DK. Chapter 123. Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndromes. In: Halter JB, Ouslander JG, Tinetti ME, Studenski S, High KP, Asthana S. eds. Hazzard's Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, 6e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2009. Accessed 7/1/2020.
  • Chandola HC, Chakraborty A. Fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome-a dilemma. Indian J Anaesth. 2009;53(5):575-81. Accessed 7/1/2020.
  • Rodante JA, Al Hassan QA, Almeer ZS. Myofascial Pain Syndrome: Uncovering the Root Causes. 2012;12(6). Accessed 7/1/2020.
  • Weller JL, Comeau D, Otis JAD. Myofascial Pain. Semin Neurol 2018;38(6):640-643. Accessed 7/1/2020.
  • Gerwin RD. Myofascial Trigger Point Pain Syndromes. Semin Neurol 2016;36(5):469-473. Accessed 7/1/2020.
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Can Diet Help with Inflammation? Accessed 7/1/2020.

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