Chronic pain is any condition that continues for a duration of at least 3mths or longer. It refers to pain and inflammation in the body’s soft tissues.
Myofascial pain is a chronic condition that affects the fascia (connective tissue that covers the muscles). This pain syndrome involves either a single muscle or a muscle group. Often times the area where you experiences pain is not directly aligned with where the pain generator is located.
What Causes Chronic Myofascial Pain?
• Injury to muscle fibers
• Repetitive motions
• Lack of activity (such as having a broken arm in a sling)
Symptoms of Myofascial Pain?
Myofascial pain symptoms usually involve muscle pain with specific “tender” points. The pain can be made worse with activity or stress. It will also exhibit “trigger points” which are active and very painful when palpated.
How Is Myofascial Pain Diagnosed?
Trigger points can be identified by pain that results when pressure is applied to an area of a person’s body. In the diagnosis of myofascial pain syndrome, two types of trigger points can be distinguished:
• An active trigger point is an area of extreme tenderness that usually lies within the skeletal muscle and which is associated with a local or regional pain.
• A latent trigger point is a dormant (inactive) area that has the potential to act like a trigger point. It may cause muscle weakness or restriction of movement.
How Is Myofascial Pain Treated?
Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, acetaminophen or opioids may be used to treat myofascial pain. Medications for sleep, depression or muscle spasm are sometimes used, as well.
Non-drug treatments may include;
• “Stretch and spray” technique: This treatment involves spraying the muscle and trigger point with a coolant and then slowly stretching the muscle.
• Massage therapy In some chronic cases of myofascial pain, combinations of physical therapy, trigger point injections, and massage are needed.