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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Mar 2023 - 31 Mar 2023


Musculoskeletal Pain

2023 Mar 03

Life (Basel)




Myofascial Pain Syndrome: A Nociceptive Condition Comorbid with Neuropathic or Nociplastic Pain.


Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C, Nijs J, Cagnie B, Gerwin RD, Plaza-Manzano G, Valera-Calero JA, Arendt-Nielsen L


Myofascial pain syndrome is featured by the presence of myofascial trigger points (TrPs). Whether TrPs are primary or secondary phenomena or if they relate to central or peripheral nervous system disorders is controversial. Referred pain, a cardinal sign of TrPs, is a central phenomenon driven by peripheral input. In 2021, the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) proposed a clinical criteria and grading system for classifying patients with pain on nociceptive, neuropathic, or nociplastic phenotypes. Myofascial TrP pain has been traditionally categorized as a nociceptive phenotype; however, increasing evidence supports that this condition could be present in patients with predominantly nociplastic pain, particularly when it is associated with an underlying medical condition. The clinical response of some therapeutic approaches for managing TrPs remains unclear. Accordingly, the ability to classify myofascial TrP pain into one of these phenotypes would likely be critical for producing more successful clinical treatment outcomes by a precision medicine approach. This consensus paper presents evidence supporting the possibility of subgrouping individuals with myofascial TrP pain into nociceptive, nociplastic, or mixed-type phenotype. It is concluded that myofascial pain caused by TrPs is primarily a nociceptive pain condition, is unlikely to be classified as neuropathic or nociplastic, but can be present in patients with predominantly neuropathic or nociplastic pain. In the latter cases, management of the predominant central pain problem should be a major treatment goal, but the peripheral drive from TrPs should not be ignored, since TrP treatment has been shown to reduce sensitization-associated symptomatology in nociplastic pain conditions, e.g., fibromyalgia.