Also known as muscle pain, myofascial pain is an extremely painful condition that results when pressure is applied to trigger points. The condition can involve a single muscle or a group of muscles. Myofascial pain usually occurs in men and women between the ages of 30 and 60 years old. In order to properly diagnose the condition, a doctor may perform a physical examination and blood tests. The provider will also thoroughly review patients’ medical history and symptoms, as well as examine the affected muscles. The detailed exam of the painful muscles consists of strength and range of motion testing to determine if the trigger points respond in a predictable pattern or region.
The exact cause of myofascial pain is unknown; however, many experts believe that the onset of the condition might be due to using poor posture while exercising or performing work activities. Some additional factors include:
- Overuse of muscles
- Mechanical factors
- Excessive stress
- Poor posture
A vitamin D deficiency and hypothyroidism has also been linked to myofascial pain.
One of the most common signs of myofascial pain are the presence of trigger points. Trigger points is a term used to describe the extremely sensitive areas within the muscle that cause severe pain when touched. The pain can sometimes be felt in another area of the body, which is known as referred pain. Trigger points can also be activated by fatigue, direct trauma, coldness, and overwork. While an active trigger point is sore most of the time, a latent trigger point does not produce pain during daily activities, but is typically activated when the muscle is strained or injured.
Other symptoms include:
- Sleeping problems
- Muscle weakness
- Constant pain
When appropriately diagnosed and treated, the pain that is typically associated with myofascial pain can be controlled. Some of the most common treatment options include:
- Medication Management: Medicines such as naproxen and ibuprofen can reduce pain in certain trigger points. A provider may implement a pain medication regimen to safely and efficiently combat pain.
- Injections: Some doctors may decide to inject a pain medication or local anesthetic directly into the trigger points to alleviate pain. These types of injections are most commonly used in the neck, shoulders, or lower back.
- Nutrition Changes: Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet is also an effective treatment option. This proactive and preventive approach has been shown to reduce symptoms like pain and stress.
Along with pursuing these treatment options, a provider may also advise patients with myofascial pain to decrease body weight, exercise daily, improve posture, and learn stress-management techniques. Using proper mechanics at work and during exercise may also help to reduce pain. These preventive measures can promote a quick and smooth recovery.
Contact Allied Pain & Spine Institute today to schedule an appointment for relief from muscle pain.