The Causes Behind Myofascial Pain
By Orthopaedic and Neurology Clinic
What is define by a Myofascial Pain?
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder. In this condition, pressure on sensitive points in your muscles (trigger points) causes pain in the muscle and sometimes in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. This is called referred pain.
This syndrome typically occurs after a muscle has been contracted repetitively. This can be caused by repetitive motions used in jobs or hobbies or by stress-related muscle tension.
While nearly everyone has experienced muscle tension pain, the discomfort associated with myofascial pain syndrome persists or worsens.
What are some causes of a Myofascial Pain?
Most points occur because of muscle overuse, muscle trauma (injury), or psychological stress. Trigger points often arise from sustained repetitive activities, like lifting heavy objects at work or working on a computer all day. No single factor is responsible for the development of myofascial trigger points. A combination of contributing factors may include:
- poor posture
- sitting for a long time in awkward positions
- nutritional deficiencies
- serious lack of exercise or movement
- any injury to the musculoskeletal system or intervertebral disks
- generalized fatigue
- lack of sleep
- hormonal changes (menopause)
- intense cooling of muscles (such as when sleeping in front of an air conditioner)
- emotional problems (depression, anxiety)
- other pain or inflammation conditions
“Most people with pain and fatigue in their skeletal muscles have either fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). Fibromyalgia is a disorder of widespread muscular pain. It can be felt throughout the entire body. But, people with MPS feel localized pain in regional groups of muscles, like the lower back, neck, or jaw.”
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What types of diagnosis?
Trigger points can be identified by pain that results when pressure is applied to a specific area of a person’s body. In the diagnosis of myofascial pain syndrome, four types of trigger points can be distinguished:
- active trigger points: These trigger points are nodules within a taut band of muscle. They’re typically the source of muscular pain. They’re very tender, cause referred pain, and produce a twitch when touched.
- latent trigger points: These nodules do not cause pain when touched. They can remain dormant for years and become active when there is stress or trauma.
- secondary trigger point: This is a painful point in the muscle that becomes active when you stress another muscle.
- satellite myofascial point: This is a painful spot that becomes active because it’s located near another trigger point.
What types of treatments?
Treatment for myofascial pain syndrome typically includes medications, trigger point injections or physical therapy. No conclusive evidence supports using one therapy over another, but exercise is considered an important component of any treatment program. Discuss your options and treatment preferences with our Specialist.
Medications used for myofascial pain syndrome include:
- Pain relievers. Pain relievers may help some people. Or our doctor may prescribe stronger pain relievers. Some are available in patches that you place on your skin.
- Antidepressants. Many types of antidepressants can help relieve pain. For some people with myofascial pain syndrome, amitriptyline appears to reduce pain and improve sleep.
- Sedatives. Clonazepam (Klonopin) helps treat the anxiety and poor sleep that sometimes occur with myofascial pain syndrome. It must be used carefully because it can cause sleepiness and can be habit-forming.
Our physical therapist can devise a plan to help relieve your pain based on your signs and symptoms. Physical therapy to relieve myofascial pain syndrome may involve:
- Stretching. Our physical therapist may lead you through gentle stretching exercises to help ease the pain in your affected muscle. If you feel trigger point pain when stretching, the physical therapist may spray a numbing solution on your skin.
- Posture training. Improving your posture can help relieve myofascial pain, particularly in your neck. Exercises that strengthen the muscles surrounding your trigger point will help you avoid overworking any one muscle.
- Massage. Our physical therapist may massage your affected muscle to help relieve your pain. The physical therapist may use long hand strokes along your muscle or place pressure on specific areas of your muscle to release tension.
- Heat. Applying heat, via a hot pack or a hot shower, can help relieve muscle tension and reduce pain.
- Ultrasound. This type of therapy uses sound waves to increase blood circulation and warmth, which may promote healing in muscles affected by myofascial pain syndrome.