Myofascial Pain Syndrome: An analysis of symptoms, causes, and treatments
Running has been researched and studied that have shown the positive effects it has on both the body and the mind. This article will encompass both aspects and the interconnectedness.
In Myofascial Pain Syndrome is not uncommon for people to develop on an occasion some form of muscle pain. Especially for individuals who work in very physically demanding jobs. Our bodies are able to perform many great feats. However, with continuous movements, a poor emotional health, and a very poor diet the body can start to denigrate and tear down. The muscles need adequate amounts of nutrition and water to function properly along with recovering properly.
Without an adequate amount of food, water, and relaxation the muscles can star to get weaker and a person will develop certain chronic conditions. Muscles pains are not uncommon and there are many individuals, of all ages, who suffer from some form of muscle pain. Myofascial Pain Syndrome is a condition that affects many individuals of many different ages. Luckily though, there are many treatments available that not only treat this condition but can completely heal this condition.
What is Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder that causes pain in certain parts of the body. Around our muscles are nerves called trigger points. Trigger points are sensitive areas of tight muscle fibers. A trigger point can cause strain and pain in a certain part of the body, especially a part of the body where the muscle is extremely dominant. When the pain persists and gets worse over time medical professional call this myofascial pain syndrome.
Myofascial Pian syndrome can be a very elusive condition to spot because of the commonality of symptoms with other muscle pain conditions. It is recommended for those who believe they have this condition to consult a physical therapist as they will be better able to determine the cause of the pain you are experiencing.
The symptoms that are typically associated with myofascial pain syndrome include:
- Deep, aching pain in a muscle
- Pain that persists despite massage or medicine
- Pain that stays and gets worse over time
- A knot in a muscle
- limited motion in the muscle joints
- clicking and popping in the joints
- unexplained nausea
- Difficulty sleeping because of the severity of the pain
- The pain is usually felt in localized areas lie the neck, lower back, and upper back region
It is normal for people to feel pain once in a while, especially if they are engaging in some form of physical exercises or if they are exerting their muscles. However, if the pain is constant and doesn’t seem to get better over time, this is a clear symptom that there is something wrong.
In an incident like this, it is recommended that individuals visit their doctor for a medical examination, as the medical examination will be able to help the individual discover the source of their pain.
Myofascial pain syndrome may be caused by the stimulus, such as pressure that sets off trigger points in the muscles. Certain factors can be a leading factor as to someone sustaining myofascial pain syndrome. These factors primarily relate to muscle injury. Muscle injury – Muscle stress can happen because a person might have stressed their muscles too much. Common causes for muscle injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Muscle cramp
- Medications, especially the cholesterol medications known as statins
- Lyme disease
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Rheumatoid arthritis
There are many causes for muscle injuries and because of this, it is quite difficult for doctors to diagnosis what is the cause for the pain an individual is experiencing.
- Stress and anxiety – It is well known and has been researched and thoroughly studied that the mind and the emotional state can have a huge impact on a person health. Stress and anxiety not only cause the muscles to clench and never truly relax; but being stressed and angry also has a huge negative effect on the immune system.
- Poor posture – myofascial pain syndrome can be caused by constant poor posture alignment. Poor posture not only leads to this specific condition but has a host of other negative side effects. The bones are meant to keep the body aligned. When an individual keeps a poor posture they are forcing their muscle to try and keep the body in alignment. This exertion of the muscle causes the muscles to develop not only myofascial pain syndrome but also other muscle pain conditions. The negative effects of poor posture and individual health:
- Improper digestion – a major symptom of those who have developed myofascial pain syndrome is the constant diarrhea ad constipation that they experience. Sitting all day can have a bad effect on your health
- Mood – Bad postures have been proven to have a negative effect on a person’s mood. Stress and anxiety are key symptoms that can have an impact on a person developing myofascial pain syndrome.
- Increased stress levels– Sitting down really affects the body. It compresses the spine and the body. As a result, the body starts to make it harder to breathe correctly. Breathing correctly is important as it affects the nervous system.
- Fatigue – excessively working, coupled with, stress and anxiety will reap a plethora of negative effects on the body.
- Medical conditions – Certain medical conditions can lead to a person developing myofascial pain syndrome. Such medical condition includes a heart attack or stomach irritation.
- Emotional Health – What is not widely known, but is salient, is that a person’s emotional state can have a huge impact on a person’s overall physical health. The mind and body are connected. It has been researched, studied and proven that a poor emotional health leads to many physical ailments. These ailments include but are not limited to:
- Back pain
- Change in appetite
- Chest pain
- the trouble with a bowel movement in the form of diarrhea or constipation
- Dry mouth
- extreme lethargy
- Aches and pains throughout the body
- high blood pressure
- trouble sleeping
- sexual performance decreases
- stiff neck
- weight gain or weight loss
Emotional health can be difficult to spot as individuals are very good and can mask how they are really feeling. It is important that when you speak with your doctor that you are honest with how you are feeling emotionally. In being honest with your doctor you will be better able to get the necessary treatment a person needs.
It is important to know and will be explained in further detail throughout the article, that the emotional health and strength of an individual can have some influence on a person developing this condition.
If myofascial pain syndrome is not treated or known earlier on in its infancy state than it can become worse over time. A number of complications may arise as a result of not properly treating the syndrome. These complications that may arise include:
- Sleep problems – A person may start to have a hard time to sleep at night because of the severity of the pain. This is because of how tender the trigger points become and rolling while sleeping can hit a trigger point making sleeping very difficult.
- Fibromyalgia – It has been researched that myofascial pain syndrome may be a cause for someone to develop fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that also causes widespread pain in the body.
- Stressful life situations – Because of the lack of sleep and the constant pain the individuals is feeling it is not unreasonable to understand that individuals who suffer wth myofascial pain syndrome have a difficult life situation.
- Depression – The amount of pain that a person is constantly feeling can cause people to also hurt emotionally.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome is a condition that can have devastating effects on a person’s life. However, this is a condition that can be treated. With the proper amounts of treatment and rest, the condition can easily be treated and the risk factors that are associated with this condition can be minimized before they ever arise.
The best way to determine if you have developed myofascial pain syndrome is to get a physical examination. During the physical examination, the doctor will gently touch certain parts of the body, specifically targeting the trigger points. Certain touches in certain areas of the body will trigger certain responses.
For diagnosing whether a person has myofascial pain syndrome the doctor tries to determine what type of trigger point it is. There are four types of trigger points that a person can have developed, which are:
- An active trigger point is an area where extreme tenderness is felt. The pain is felt mostly in the skeletal muscle region.
- A latent trigger point is a dormant trigger point that may arise later on if the individuals do not take the necessary steps to prevent it from arising.
- A secondary trigger point is an area where it is very irritable. The muscle can become inactive due to the trigger pain.
- A satellite myofascial point is an extremely irritable spot in a muscle that becomes inactive because of the muscle in the region of another trigger pain.
Because muscle pain has many possible causes, the doctor may recommend other alternative methods to come to a better conclusion of what the specific reasons are for the pain.
Myofascial pain syndrome is a very painful condition that affects the lives of those who suffer from this syndrome. This syndrome can interfere with the work life and social life of those who have developed this condition. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help to alleviate and eliminate the pain. There is a myriad of treatments that are available for those who suffer from myofascial pain syndrome. These treatments include:
Pain relievers – over the countered pain relievers are usually prescribed by a doctor. If the pain is very severe then the doctor will prescribe a stronger version of the pain relievers.
- Antidepressants – Because myofascial pain syndrome can be caused by stress and anxiety antidepressants are sometimes prescribed. These are very useful as they help to take away a person stress and depression along with helping these individuals to have a good nights sleep.
- Sedatives – A certain sedative called Clonazepam (Klonopin) helps to relax the muscles that are affected by myofascial pain syndrome. However, there is a negative side effect to taking this sedative. Those who use it become very sleepy and the use of this starts to become a habit, in other words, it becomes somewhat of an addiction.
Sometimes medication is not a remedy that an individual will feel comfortable with taking and sometimes the doctors themselves will recommend something else. The alternative to medication is therapy. The therapy that can help to alleviate the pain include:
- Stretching – a physical therapist can help individuals through certain stretches that can help to loosen up the muscle and help them become more relaxed. If a person feels pain during the stretching in the trigger point areas, then the physical therapist will spray a pain relieving solution on the person skin to help them get through the stretches.
- Posture training – A physical therapist will give the individuals exercise that will help to correct the posture and also help to strengthen the muscles around the trigger points.
- Massage – A physical therapist may massage your affected muscle to help alleviate the pain. The massages they will most likely use is a trigger point massage, which is especially good for helping to alleviate pain.
- Trigger point therapy – Trigger point therapy has shown a considerable amount of promise in its treatment and is currently being research as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
- Heat – Heat can help to alleviate pain as it helps to relax the muscles and reduce pain. The hot cold therapy is not recommended as cold packs have more of a negative effect on certain muscle than good.
- Ultrasounds – This type of therapy uses sound waves to increase blood flow and warmth, that may be able to affect those who have myofascial pain syndrome.
- Needle procedures – this might instantly sound like it is acupuncture but it is different. This is called dry needling and the difference relies on the practitioner injecting a numbing agent or a steroid into the trigger point.
- Rest – The benefits of resting and letting the body recover can have an amazing effect on the body. Most often pains continue or get worse because people do not give the body time to recover properly. However, it should be noted that rest in of itself is not a panacea and rest coupled with other treatments can help the recovery time process.
- Acupuncture – Is a traditional Chinese medical practice that relies on the doctor placing needles in certain parts of the body to target certain spots throughout the body. This sounds very similar to the dry needle procedure however where the dry needle method relies on using numbing agents and injections, acupuncture tends to focus more on setting what they call “chi” to flow back into the body. Chi is considered to be the vital energy that gives us life and energy.
- Handling your emotional health – As stated early it is salient to know that emotional health affects the body as well. There are many treatments available for those who have poor emotional health that does not require any form of medication. education may be able to help the person in the short-term however it will not in the long term as the person will become dependent on the medication. However, there are many other options that are available for those who have poor emotional health and seek to improve their emotional health. These options include:
- Express your feelings in appropriate ways – For many individuals, they would rather bottle up their negative emotions and keep them in. This is bad for a multitude of reasons as the research has shown keeping in negative emotions reap havocs on the body and the mind. Negative emotions also slowly destroy and weak the immune system. So it is recommended for those who are angry or sad or anxious to confront this emotion and express them the best way they can without hurting someone. In the case of sadness, it is best to just cry and release your sadness. Crying helps to reduce stress levels.
- Live a balanced life – It is important to spend as much time as you can around people and individuals who will help to make you feel good. It is inevitable that you will be forced to meet and work with negative people. However, you can cut the time you spend with these people. Emotions are very contagious and it is important to not only distances yourself from those who are toxic but to stay with emotionally healthy people.
- Develop a thick skin – The most common reason for so many people to suffer from depression and anxiety is due in part to how they see themselves. And how they see themselves is how they think the world sees them. It is important for individuals to have a healthy love and respect for themselves. Caring what others think of you will not only affect your emotional state but will also affect your mental state and clarity. Negative emotions and thoughts not only affect the emotions but starts t deteriorate the mind as well.
- Meditation – Meditation is a great way to clear the mind and stay focus. Taking slow breaths and focusing on the present and focusing on what makes you happy will boost the serotonin in your mind and give you better clarity.
- Take care of yourself – It is important to keep your emotional health at a high level. Surround yourself with people who make you happy and want to grow.
In the case of emotional health and how it affects the body, it cannot be overlooked and cannot be so easily dismissed. The emotional state and the body’s health are very much connected. There is a massive amount of information out there that has shown how our emotional state can affect the body. Many of the treatments above have a significantly high successful rate and offer very little negative side effects. However, the best treatment is always prevention.
Lifestyle can be a great way to prevent from developing myofascial pain syndrome. It is always important to take the necessary steps in maintaining one’s health. The best ways to prevent from developing myofascial pain syndrome include:
- Exercise – gentle exercises can offer a plethora of benefits. The importance of exercising should not be overlooked. The exercises not only keep the muscles from getting weaker and leading to much more extreme chronic conditions but exercising also is a great way to help the mind stay sharp and the to keep the heart strong. An exercise that is recommended by many physical therapists is swimming. Swimming offers a plethora of benefits that can not only lead to maintaining a healthy body but can also help to speed up the recovery of the who suffer from some kind of ailment. There are many exercises that can help to deal with stress and anxiety such as:
Swimming – swimming is a great way to tone the muscles, good for the heart and especially good for calming the mind. Myofascial pain syndrome, which is proliferated throughout the article is influenced by the emotional state of a person. Swimming releases a hormone called endorphins that is well known as the feel good hormone. This, however, is not the only exercises that can help to alleviate stress and anxiety.
- Biking – Cycling can give your brain a boost and also alleviate stress and anxiety. Biking helps to promote the release of neurotransmitters for a calmer and happier mood.
- Running – Running has been researched and studied that have shown the positive effects it has on both the body and the mind. Running helps to clear the mind and helps to alleviate stress and anxiety. Runners have all been shown to have higher levels of endorphins (again which is the feel good hormone).
- Dancing – Listening to your favorite music can help you to overcome your stress and anxiety. Dancing can help t alleviate stress and anxiety because in dancing a person not only release their negative emotions but they also are much more focused on the task at hand.
The benefits that come in exercise are numerous. Exercising is perhaps one of the best ways to prove not only from getting myofascial pain syndrome but also to avoid getting any other chronic condition.
- Relax – allowing the body to relax is a great way to keep the muscles and the trigger points from experiencing severe pain.
- Keep a strong posture – As explained in great detailing earlier onion the article having a poor poster can have an extremely negative affect on the body. It is important to maintain a proper posture. The best way to keep a proper posture is to:
- Get up – As stated earlier, sitting down all day is extremely bad for the body. It not only compresses the spine and makes it harder to breathe it also compresses the organs and makes it harder for the digestive system to work properly. It is recommended that a person gets up and move around, especially if your job is to say in front o a computer all day. Get up and walk around will help to stop the negative effect of sitting all day.
- Yoga and/or Pilate – Yoga specifically is a great way to keep the spine in alignment but also a great way to keep the muscle stretched and relaxed. A cause for someone to develop myofascial pain syndrome is due to having stiff or unrelaxed and tight muscles. Yoga not only helps to stretch the muscles but also focuses on breathing and keeping the body and mind relaxed. Pilates is also a great option as it can help to keep a person core strong.
- Stronger abdominal muscles – having a stronger abdominal muscle can help to keep a core strong. having a stronger core helps to have a better balance and keeps the muscles strong and the spine and joints in alignment.
- Buy an ergonomic chair – or those who have to sit down all day it is recommended that they buy an ergonomic chair. It not only helps to keep the spine in alignment but it also helps to improve the posture of anyone who has started to develop having a poor posture.
The benefits of having a proper posture are many. The relationship between having a poor posture and its relationship with myofascial pain syndrome are very easy to see.
- Taking care of the body – Nice warm baths or cold showers can offer benefits. After a long day of physically demanding work or emotionally challenging work, it is important to be able to unwind. This may be by either a nice warm bath or by simply engaging in something that will bring you joy. It really is important that you maintain a healthy emotional level as an or emotional level will reap many negative effects on the person.
- Drink plenty of water – The body is made up of water mostly. It is important to stay adequately hydrated. Staying hydrated helps the muscles to repair much quicker.
Healthy diet – The benefits of eating right cannot and should not be overlooked. It is important to exercise but it is also to put the right food into your body. Our bodies need the right nutrients to function properly. Many illness and chronic conditions that many people are suffering from today are due in part to the unhealthy diets that they consume. It important to eat a diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, dark greens. However, there are certain foods that when consumed can help the muscles relax. these foods include:
- Honey – is high in tryptophan which can help to relax the muscles and also good at helping individuals to sleep.
- Vegetable soup – vegetable soups are among some of the best foods to help relax the muscles. Of course, it is salient to add certain vegetables to the soup in order to reap the benefits of relieved muscle aches. Vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, spinach and garlic will be very beneficial for those who suffer from extreme muscle pain.
- Oatmeal – As long as the oatmeal is sugar-free, oatmeal can help relaxation for many reasons. Oats a high in the vitamin B6 which aids in helping to relax the muscles along with helping to give people a better good night sleep.
- Protein – eating certain lean meats will help the muscle get the energy it needs to function and to repair.
- Cold water fish – such as tuna, mackerel, salmon, and sardine are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 are important as they can help boost serotonin levels along with suppressing anxiety-related hormones like cortisol.
- Bananas– are packed with magnesium and potassium. Both of which are very useful for helping the muscle to relax. Especially magnesium. Bananas also have high amounts of tryptophan.
- Dark Chocolate- Dark Chocolate, as long as it is 70% cocoa, is very good at helping to reduce stress levels.
- Eggs – are a great source of protein along with having high levels of tryptophan.
Eating the right foods will do wonders for the body, mind and your sleep pattern. The benefits of a combination of eating right, exercising and drinking plenty of water is a sure way to maintain one’s health and vitality.
It is not uncommon for doctors to misdiagnosis this syndrome, initially. This is due to the fact that muscle pain is quite common for those who works are physically demanding. Due to the overwhelming causes for muscle injuries, it is not uncommon for a doctor to misdiagnosis the pain and treats it as something else.
Wrapping it up
Myofascial pain syndrome can be very much a cause severe pain to the individual. Luckily though there are a plethora of treatments that are available for those who have developed the condition. The best way to keep from developing the syndrome is through prevention. Taking care of your body and eating healthy is the best way to stop from developing this condition.
Sources used while researching for this article
The sources used for this article are listed below. These sites are respected sites with the articles written or researched by medical professionals; however, you should not take the information that has been written in this article as medical advice. Consult your doctor if you think you have developed myofascial pain syndrome.
- Symptoms of Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Feb 11, 2016 ,
- Muscle Pain causes, Aug 03, 2015 ,
- Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome , Aug 06, 2014 ,
- Trigger Points , Mar 25, 2016 ,
- The relationship between Emotions and the body, Feb 14, 2015 ,
- Ten foods to help relax your muscles, Jun 17, 2016 ,
- Relieving Muscles Soreness, Jun 03, 2015 ,
- Emotional Health , Jun 25, 2015 ,
- Benefits of crying, Dec 10, 2014 ,
- What is Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Mar 27, 2017 ,