Chronic muscle pain, otherwise known as myofascial pain syndrome, is a chronic condition that affects the covering of the muscle known as fascia. This problem is often associated with neck pain, back pain and sciatica. To differentiate chronic muscle pain from other disorders, you have to understand trigger points.
Chronic Muscle Pain Trigger Points
The presence of trigger points distinguish myofascial syndrome from the rest of the disorders. Trigger points are localized pain spots or centers. These points are sometimes expressed as painful knots or contractures located in any kind of muscle.
At times, these trigger points can become a referred type of chronic pain. Referred pain is a condition in which the pain that is felt in one area is originally caused by an underlying problem in another part of the body.
Causes of Chronic Muscle Pain
Factors that can cause chronic muscle pain may include psychological and physical stress, muscle injury, sedentary lifestyle, lack of muscle activity, muscle tension, anxiety and other underlying diseases. In addition, if you are tense, anxious and depressed, you unknowingly will increase your pain sensitivity which can lead to chronic muscle pain in the neck, back and hip.
Chronic Muscle Pain Symptoms
If you have chronic muscle pain, you tend to feel muscle tenderness and soreness, especially in your upper back and trapezius muscles. You may also experience a change in your mood, sleeping disturbances and fatigue. Chronic pain is persistent and often worsens over time.
Myofascial pain syndrome is a type of chronic pain that appears to be specific and localized. It can be expressed as headaches or as pain felt in the neck, hip, arm and leg. The leg pain that is felt is usually mistaken for sciatica. The pain associated with this chronic condition is described as a deep, aching and throbbing pain.
The treatment regimen for chronic pain includes trigger point injections where local anesthesia is directly injected at the trigger spot. You can also take prescribed oral medications such as NSAIDs, like Motrin or Ibuprofen, for pain management, anti-depressants for the mood changes and sedatives for your sleeping disturbances.
Other effective treatments include physical therapy, exercise, stretching, and trigger point massage. Frequently, a combination of all of these is used in an attempt to find maximum relief.
Things You Can Do
You can help to prevent or reduce chronic muscle pain by taking good care of yourself, avoiding stress, performing regular exercise routines, relaxation techniques and eating a healthy diet. Your exercise routine should focus on a program that permits gentle stretching and controlled movements. Simple exercises like walking, jogging and swimming can also aid in relieving tension, improving muscle tone and reducing your overall pain.
Meditation, socialization and engaging in a hobby that can make you happy can also do wonders to ease stress and reduce pain sensitivity. Taking good care of your body, eating healthy and getting adequate sleep will help you combat chronic pain, fatigue, and tension.
If pain persists or worsens without any apparent reason, you should consult a physician. Complications of chronic muscle pain can occur. Myofascial pain syndrome can lead to fibromyalgia. You should seek your physician’s help as soon as you notice a problem.