Myofascial (Muscle) pain, also known as chronic myofascial pain (CMP) is a syndrome categorized by chronic pain caused by multiple trigger points and fascial constrictions.
The most notable feature of CMP is the presence of trigger points. In some cases the origin of pain is different from the location where a person experiences pain.
Nearly everyone at some point suffers from muscle pain, commonly known as myalgia fascitis or myofascitis. CMP most often occurs in people between the ages of 30 and 60 years & affects men and women equally.
Myofascial pain is steady, aching, and deep. Depending on the condition and location the intensity can range from mild discomfort to painful and “lightning-like”, in some cases knots may be visible or felt underneath the skin.
Symptoms of Myofascial Pain
- Jaw or facial pain
- Pain while talking, yawning, eating
- Deep, aching pain in a muscle
- Pain that persists or worsens
- A tender knot in a muscle
Causes for Myofascial Pain
Although the causes are unknown, few possible factors which relates to CMP are:
- Strain or injury to the muscles
- Using a muscle after you haven’t used it for a while -stroke or facture
- Poor posture, poor exercise techniques
- Mechanical problems – one leg longer than the other, poor posture
- Overwork or fatigue of muscles
- Direct trauma & cold
- Anxiety or depression
The pain related with CMP might lead to problems in sleeping & pain may worsen progressively. In some cases, the pain of CMP can affect additional muscles for example, a muscle can be stressed when another muscle is affected by CMP and is not functioning properly.
Myofascial pain does not resolve on its own, even after typical first-aid self-care such as ice, heat, and rest.The muscle may be swollen or hard—a “taut band” of muscle or “knot” in the muscle, sensation of muscle weakness, tingling, and stiffness are alarming signs to seek medical attention.
It is recommended to seekmedical attention if your muscle pain which feel like aching, burning, stinging, or stabbing and is associated with specific trigger points and get worse when pressed on a trigger point persists despite rest, massage and similar self-care measures. One may experience referred pain, a feeling of weakness in the affected muscle and limited range of motion.
Treatment for Chronic Myofascial Pain
- Physical therapy includes stretching, postural and strengthening exercises.
- Medicines used ranges from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-depressants, anti-convulsants to muscle relaxants.
- Massage therapy includes therapeutic massage that helps loosen tight muscles and relieve cramping or spasms.
- Injectioning a pain medicine directly into the trigger points. Trigger point injectionshas been found effective in regard to patients finding longer term relief after a few sessions. Regular TPIs provides substantial relief from pain as much as to reduce the use of severe pain medication.
- Posture evaluation and ergonomic for poor posture, workplace ergonomics or mechanical problems that might be contributing to CMP pains may provide significant relief in the early stages of treatment. Movement therapies such as Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais Method may also be helpful.
When properly diagnosed and treated, the pain associated with CMP often can be controlled.