Chronic myofascial pain is constant or lingering pain that affects the connective tissue of a muscle or muscle group. When it comes to myofascial pain, there are trigger points that are usually in the fascia or in a taut muscle.
What are the causes?
It is not precisely known what causes chronic myofascial pain but it can start after:
- Injury or strain to the ligaments, muscles or tendons
- Using a muscle after some time that it was not used such as after a fracture or stroke
Indications of chronic myofascial pain
The characteristic symptoms of chronic myofascial pain are continuous or lingering pain in areas such as low back, shoulders, neck and chest. There is also pain or seems to worsen if a trigger point is pressed. The muscle might be hard or swollen as well.
- Muscle that is highly sensitive or tender if touched
- Pain like burning, aching, stabbing or stinging
- Muscle pain that arises with pressure on a trigger point
- Diminished range of motion in the involved area
- Sensation of weakness in the affected muscle
Individuals with the condition might have other health issues such as depression, tension headaches, fatigue and sleeping problems. These issues are prevalent among those with chronic pain.
A doctor should be consulted so that appropriate treatment can be started. The main treatment options can include any of the these:
- Use a cooling spray directly on the skin from the trigger point to the sore area and steadily stretch the muscle. This can be repeated several times.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches the individual how to change negative thoughts about pain.
- Massage therapy
- Hypnosis can help the individual relax and reduce pain
- Physiotherapy includes stretching and strengthening exercises
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Injections into the trigger points
The doctor might also recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen. These medications can help with the symptoms.