Everyone experiences pain at some point in their lives. Of course, there are several different reasons you may be experiencing pain in your muscles. It could be from a sports injury, or it could be from your daily routine. Most pain will resolve on its own after a few days or weeks, but for those experiencing pain that persists, it could be time to get it checked on.
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain syndrome that affects the musculoskeletal system. If you have myofascial pain syndrome (MPS), you could experience sensitive spots in your muscles also known as trigger points. When these points have pressure applied to them, pain is often felt in another part of the body.
Symptoms of Myofascial Pain Syndrome
There are many different symptoms associated with MPS. These can include:
• Deep pain in some regions of the muscle
• When stretching, the pain worsens in the affected muscle
• Sleep and/or mood disturbances
• Stiff, weak or inflexible muscles with a reduced range of motion
• Painful knots that, when pressed, will be quite painful
• Pain in muscles that either worsens or stays the same over time
• Difficulty sleeping due to muscle pains
This isn’t an exhaustive list of symptoms. You may find you have all or some of these issues with your own muscle pains, so it is always important to have your muscle pain assessed appropriately.
What Causes Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
There isn’t one single factor that can contribute to the progress of MPS. You may lift heavy objects at work, or you may play sports in your free time that has caused the localised pain in your muscle. There are a few different events and factors that could lead to MPS or be risk factors for trigger point pain:
• Sitting in an awkward position for an extended time
• Deficiencies in nutrition/diet
• Lack of movement or exercise
• General fatigue
• Excessive cooling of the muscles over some time (such as sleeping in an air-conditioned room)
• Emotional issues such as anxiety and depression
• Injury to your musculoskeletal system or invertebral disks
How To Diagnose MPS
One of your first points of contact is likely to be your GP. Your doctor may press into the painful area to feel for tense areas. Depending on your specific condition, pressing into the area may create a specific response, such as a muscle twitch. To rule out any other problems, your doctor may request other tests to be conducted.
How To Treat MPS
There isn’t a specific test to show the presence of MPS. Thus, it’s important to tell your practitioner all of your symptoms and any injuries that you have experienced. You may find that you will need to try a combination of therapies to find relief. Some therapies include:
• Pain relievers – Depending on how painful your symptoms are, your doctor may prescribe pain relief. Many people find over-the-counter medications are sufficient.
• Medications for sleep – For those experiencing sleep disturbances due to the pain, some doctors may prescribe medications to aid with sleep.
• Massage therapy – Physical therapy, such as myotherapy, can help relieve pain and tender trigger points without the use of drugs.
• Dry needling – By inserting a needle directly into the trigger point, this can help offer quick relief to your muscle and trigger point pains.
In some cases, a combination of physical therapy and medications can help those who are experiencing chronic pain.
When you’re experiencing muscle pain, it’s never a great experience.