WHAT IS CMP?
Chronic Myofascial Pain (CMP) is a disease affecting the chemical responses between the
nerve endings and the muscle fiber affected. CMP is a chronic disorder in which
sensory, motor, and autonomic symptoms are caused by myofascial trigger points (TMP's).
This condition may develop in muscles that are overstressed, overused, or injured.
CMP affects the fascia (connective tissue that covers the muscles), in which there is
abnormal sustained contraction of part of a muscle. These muscle knots can form
degenerated hard, painful nodules called Myofascial Trigger points (MTP's). Unfortunately,
if left untreated, more MTP's can develop and spread to a wider area or extend to the
other side of your body. This is called Recruitment.
Myofascial Trigger Points can cause severe debilitating pain in areas remote from the
source. Trigger points are usually associated with a taut band, a ropey thickening of
the muscle tissue. Typically a trigger point, when pressed upon, will cause the pain to
be felt elsewhere. This is what is considered "referred pain". These pain referral
patterns are very consistent, for example, pressure on a
in the low back can radiate to the lower buttock area. Pressing on the neck can be felt
down the arm or up into the head.
Yes, CMP is Real
A report from a clinic specializing in head and neck pain reported chronic myofascial pain
in 55% of their cases. Patients evaluated in one pain management center were found to have
a myofascial component to their pain in 95% of
There is increasing awareness
that active MTP's often play a role in the symptoms of patients with tension headaches,
low back pain, neck pain, temporomandibular pain, forearm and hand pain, postural
pain, pelvic/urogenital pain syndromes. CMP is characterized by pain and stiffness that
is restricted to certain locations on the body. Like Fibromyalgia (FM), CMP is not
a psychological disturbance, and neither condition is a mental illness, although chronic
pain can cause anxiety and lead to depression. The American Medical Association, the
World Health Organization, and the National Institutes of Health are among those who
have accepted these as legitimate physical illnesses and major causes of
Patients with CMP and/or FM have "invisible" chronic pain. Since patients usually appear
to be healthy, others may not understand or even believe them when they say they
hurt. Practitioners who do not believe these patients frequently don't realize how
much patients with CMP or FM may suffer. Pain waxes and wanes, but it's always present,
and at times the pain can be severe. Chronic pain can be exhausting and
Unlike Fibromyalgia, CMP effects men and women in the same numbers.
The Search Begins
It's not uncommon for patients to go from one doctor to another, undergoing numerous
tests over a period of several years before a diagnosis of CMP or FM is finally made.
These patients are frequently misunderstood and doubted by their doctors and family. They
may even, at times, doubt themselves and feel guilty for not being able to "do their
share". Once diagnosed, these patients often feel a profound sense of relief when they
finally learn they have a recognized illness. Many patients are relieved to know they're
not alone and that there are others who share the same symptoms and who understand
the difficulty involved in obtaining appropriate medical care.
Don't give Up
It's important for healthcare providers to be aware that CMP and FM are real diseases.
They should not be classified as "wastebaskets" into which patients who complain of pain
but do not have other clear-cut diagnoses, should be "dumped." If you encounter any
healthcare provider who does not believe in the validity of CMP and FM, then you should
change to a better-educated healthcare professional! Our
doctor database is a great place to begin looking. We have
doctors in 78 countries worldwide that specialize in helping people with FM and/or CMP.
How CMP Works
Fascia surrounds, infuses and protects every other tissue, tendon, muscle, bone, ligament
and organ of the body. In healthy conditions the fascia system is relaxed and wavy
in configuration. This provides a cushioning and supportive mechanism allowing us to
move safely without restriction or pain. Collagen and elastin, fascias two main
components, allow it to be very strong yet have a high degree of flexibility. Fascia is
also dynamic in nature, it responds to internal and external forces applied on it meeting
the resistance in order to protect4.
Following all physical and emotional trauma and through poor posture, fascia scars and
hardens in the affected site and along the tension lines imposed on it. This causes
the fascia network to lose its cushioning mechanism and internal structures become pulled
out of alignment. This in turn creates an abnormal pressure, up to 2,000 pounds per
square inch, crushing nerves, blood and lymphatic vessels and further creating tension
on adjacent pain-sensitive structures and those along the fascia pull.
When the fascia network is traumatized it is pulled and twisted out of alignment.
Therefore, if the fascia has tightened creating bands of tension 3 dimensionally
throughout the body resulting in symptoms distant to the injury then all
the appropriate localized treatments will produce limited or temporary results.
Facial restrictions do not show up on CAT scans, MRI's or X Rays therefore many patients
are suffering unresolved physical and emotional pain due to undiagnosed fascia trauma.