Almost everyone has sore, aching muscles now and then. Muscle pain (myalgia) can range from mild to excruciating. Though it often goes away in a few days, sometimes muscle pain can linger for months. Muscle pain can develop almost anywhere in your body, including your neck, back, legs and even your hands.
The most common causes of muscle pain are tension, stress, overuse and minor injuries. This type of pain is usually localized, affecting just one or more muscles or parts of your body. Systemic muscle pain, which you feel throughout your body, is different. It's more often the result of an infection, an illness or a side effect of a medication.
Common causes of muscle pain include:
- Chronic exertional compartment syndrome
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Influenza (flu)
- Lyme disease
- Medications, especially statins
- Muscle cramp
- Muscle strain or rupture
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
- Post-polio syndrome
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Rhabdomyolysis, a potentially life-threatening condition in which muscle fibers break down and enter your bloodstream — sometimes as a side effect of using statin drugs
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Sprains and strains
- Staph infections
- Viral infections
What is Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a fancy way to describe muscle pain. It refers to chronic (long term) pain and inflammation in the body's soft tissues.
MPS is a chronic condition that affects the fascia (connective tissue that covers the muscles). It may involve either a single muscle or a muscle group. In some cases, the area where a person experiences the pain may not be where the myofascial pain generator is located. Experts believe that the actual site of the injury or the strain prompts the development of a trigger point that, in turn, causes pain in other areas. This situation is known as referred pain.
What Causes Myofascial Pain?
Myofascial pain may develop from a muscle injury or from excessive strain on a particular muscle or muscle group, ligament or tendon. Other causes include:
- Injury to muscle fibers
- Repetitive motions
- Lack of activity (such as having a broken arm in a sling)
What Are the Symptoms of Myofascial Pain?
Myofascial pain symptoms usually involve muscle pain with specific "trigger" or "tender" points. The pain can be made worse with activity or stress. In addition to the local or regional pain associated with myofascial pain syndrome, people with the disorder also can suffer from depression, fatigue and behavioral disturbances.
How Is Myofascial Pain Diagnosed?
Trigger points (TP) can be identified by pain that results when pressure is applied to a specific 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?
Non-drug treatments may include:
- Chiropractic manipulation
- Physical therapy
- Low-Level Laser (LLLT) Therapy
- "Stretch and spray" technique: This treatment involves spraying the muscle and trigger point with a coolant and then slowly stretching the muscle.
- Massage therapy
- Trigger point pressure
In some chronic cases of myofascial pain, combinations of chiropractic care with physical therapy, low-level laser therapy, trigger point pressure and massage as needed.
In severe cases, medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, acetaminophen or opioids may be used to treat myofascial pain. As well, medications for sleep, depression or muscle spasm are sometimes used. Source: WebMD Medical Reference
Home treatment usually relieves muscle pain from minor injuries, stress or exercise. Muscle pain from severe injuries or systemic disease is often serious and requires medical care.
Get immediate medical care if you have muscle pain with:
- Trouble breathing or dizziness
- Extreme muscle weakness
- A high fever and stiff neck
Schedule a medical office visit with a physician if you have:
- A tick bite or rash
- Muscle pain, especially in your calves, that occurs with exercise and resolves with rest
- Signs of infection, such as redness and swelling, around a sore muscle
- Muscle pain after you start taking or increase the dosage of a medication — particularly statins, which are used to control cholesterol
- Muscle pain that lasts longer than a week
Muscle pain that occurs during an activity usually signals a "pulled" or strained muscle. These types of injuries usually respond well to P.R.I.C.E. therapy:
- Protection. Protect the injured area from further injury.
- Rest. Take a break from your normal activities.
- Ice. Place an ice pack or bag of frozen peas on the sore area for 15 to 20 minutes three times a day.
- Compression. Use a compression bandage to reduce swelling.
- Elevation. Elevate your foot to help reduce swelling.
If you have any questions regarding chiropractic treatment of muscle pain,
please contact Dr. Pisarek at - [email protected]