Myofascial Pain Syndrome

1 What is Myofascial Pain Syndrome?

A chronic pain disorder is called myofascial pain syndrome that puts pressure on your sensitive points in your muscles (trigger points) that causes pain in seemingly unrelated parts of your body which is called referred pain. After a muscle has been contracted repetitively, myofascial pain syndrome occurs that can be caused by repetitive motions used in hobbies or jobs or stress related muscle tension.

The discomfort or pain with myofascial pain syndrome worsens or persists compared to those who have muscle tension pain.

Physical therapy, medications, relaxation technique and trigger point injections are used to treat myofascial pain syndrome.

2 Symptoms

Some of the signs and symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome include:

  • pain that persists or worsens,
  • a deep and aching pain in the muscles,
  • difficulty sleeping due to pain,
  • a tender knot in the muscle.

If your muscle pain worsens even if you have totally rested your body, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

3 Causes

The exact cause of myofascial pain syndrome is unknown.

Trigger points are the sensitive areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after overuse or injury.

This can cause pain and strain throughout the muscle and if this pain worsens, it is myofascial pain syndrome according to the doctors.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Your doctor may diagnose myofascial pain syndrome based on the areas of complaints of muscle pain and associated tenderness during a physical examination.

Contact your doctor so that he can have a look at you. He may refer you to a rheumatologist that specializes in diagnosing and treating muscle and joint conditions. Ask for pre appointment restrictions. 

Bring a family member or a close friend. Bring a notebook so you can list the symptoms you are experiencing and other relevant information. Write down the list of supplements, medications and vitamins that you are taking. 

Some of the basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What are the causes of my symptoms?
  • Is this temporary?
  • What are the treatments available?
  • What websites do you recommend?
  • Do you have any brochures?

Your doctor will likely ask you some questions such as:

  • What are the symptoms you are experiencing?
  • Where do you feel most intense area of pain?
  • How long have you been experiencing these symptoms?
  • Is it constant or occasional?
  • Does anything seem to make it better?
  • Is it worse in the morning or any particular time of the day?
  • Have you had any recent injuries?
  • Does it limit your activities? 

Your doctor may also recommend other tests and procedures.

5 Treatment

Medication, trigger point injections and physical therapy are the treatments for myofascial pain syndrome.

For medication: 

  • pain relievers such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Mortin IB) and naproxen sodium (Aleve), or your doctor might prescribe stronger pain relievers, some of these pain relievers come in patches that you place on your skin,
  • sedatives such as Clonazepam (Klonopin) that helps in muscle relaxation, this should be taken with precaution because it can cause sleepiness and habit-forming,
  • anti-depressants such as amitriptyline that can relieve pain and improve sleep. 

For therapy, based on your signs and symptoms, a physical therapist will devise a plan to help you relieve the pain such as:

  • Posture training, it will help you relieve pain especially in the neck to avoid overworking any muscle in your body.
  • Stretching, gentle exercises to help you ease the pain in your affected muscle, a numbing solution will be sprayed on your skin if you feel any trigger point pain when stretching.
  • Applying heat with the use of hot bath or hot pack may reduce pain and relieve muscle tension.
  • Ultrasound that uses sound waves to increase blood circulation and warmth that can help in the healing of the muscles.
  • Massaging your affected area to reduce the pain, he may place pressure on the specific areas of your muscle or use long hand strokes to release tension.

Dry needling, injecting a steroid or a numbing agent can relieve pain and to break up muscle tension, even acupuncture can help to relieve the pain in the affected area.

6 Prevention

You can prevent myofascial pain syndrome and some of these methods include:

  • postural training such as the proper way to sit, ideal standing, and postural alignment,
  • not doing repetitive tasks or movements might also be helpful,
  • finding ways not to stress you or finding ways how to relax.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathic remedies have an excellent effect in managing the signs and symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome.

Rhus Tox and Rhuta should be taken in low dosage and repeated over multiple times a day.

Consult your doctor first before taking any homeopathic medication.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with myofascial pain syndrome.

To keep your body healthy, follow these simple steps:

  • do gentle exercises to reduce the pain,
  • relax your body, remove stress and tense in your body so that you will not feel more pain,
  • meditation might also be helpful,
  • eat nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables,
  • get enough sleep so that you will not be stress when you wake up and you will feel relaxed,
  • take good care of your body.

If you are frustrated by your disease you can talk to a counselor about the challenges you are facing. You can also look for support groups in your area to help you cope with myofascial pain syndrome.

9 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with myofascial pain syndrome.

Some factors that may increase your risk of muscle trigger points are:

  • repetitive motions and poor posture,
  • continual muscle stress or acute muscle injury may lead to the development of trigger points,
  • reduce anxiety and stress so you will not develop trigger points in your muscles. 

People who have a lot of stress and anxiety tend to clench their muscles that lead to forming a repeated strain that leaves muscles susceptible to trigger points. 

Some complications that is associated with myofascial pain syndrome are:

  • sleep problem, it may be difficult for you to sleep at night and to find the right position, and sometimes if you move at night, you will be awaken because you may hit a trigger point,
  • fibromyalgia which is a chronic condition wherein you may feel a widespread pain, it is believed that a person’s brain is become more sensitive to pain signals if you have fibromyalgia and that myofascial pain syndrome is the reason for having this.
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