Myofascial Pain Syndrome is a condition that involves pain and inflammation in the connective tissue of a muscle or group of muscles. These connective tissues that protect the muscles are known as fascia.
This syndrome involves areas that are considered as tender or trigger points. These areas are commonly found in the fascia or in tight muscles. A trigger point may involve either a single muscle or a muscle group.
The exact cause of this chronic condition is unknown. Myofascial pain syndrome often occurs after muscle straining, overstretching or repetitive motion. It can also take place as a result of immobility or lack of activity of the muscles, ligaments and tendons. Examples of these conditions are stroke, injury in the vertebral disc or after having a broken bone.
Symptoms of Myofascial Pain Syndrome
The foremost symptom of this problem is a long-lasting, continuous pain along the neck, shoulders, chest and lower back. You may feel pain or the pain might get worse after placing pressure on the trigger points. These trigger points can also worsen after activity or stress. In myofascial pain syndrome, the muscles involved are usually swollen.
Other symptoms include:
- A muscle that is tender or sensitive to touch
- Limited range of motion in the affected area
- Muscle pain that occurs when pressing trigger points
- Weakness on the affected muscle
- Pain sensation that feels like stabbing, stinging, aching or burning
Aside from the symptoms that revolve around pain, this condition can also be associated with other common health problems like fatigue, sleeping problems, depression, behavioral changes and tension headache.
The physician is the best person who can diagnose this problem for treating chronic pain. Self-diagnosis is not encouraged.
The physician starts by assessing any history of a recent injury. He will then assess the location, duration, character and frequency of pain. To confirm the diagnosis, the physician will perform a physical exam, especially on the trigger points. He will identify the trigger points based on the pressure applied on the common areas that are affected. He will also test to see if some other factors are causing your pain.
Diagnosis And Guidelines For Treating Chronic Pain
If you are diagnosed with myofascial pain syndrome, the first step in treating this condition is to ask for advice from your physician. The treatment requirements may vary depending on the intensity and duration of pain.
The physician guidelines for treating chronic pain usually prescribes anti-inflammatory and painkillers. Sometimes, he will also recommend muscle relaxants and anti-depressants to soothe the muscles from pain, treat sleeping problems, fatigue and insomnia.
Local anesthetics can also be injected directly at the trigger points. Trigger point injections are usually intended for treating chronic pain cases.
Non-invasive therapies like hypnosis, massage, pain management and stretching exercises can also help. They are inexpensive, convenient and generally safe.
As the symptoms subside, most of your activities can be increased. Just make sure to increase them gradually. If you will abruptly increase your activates, pain may re-occur.
Myofascial pain syndrome can be a very frustrating and distressing condition. However, arming yourself with sufficient knowledge and understanding of this condition can help you combat the problem.
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