Myofascial Pain

Muscles can be susceptible to many different pain conditions. Pulled muscles can cause mild soreness, as well as very sharp, stabbing, or radiating pain. Old injuries like recurrent back and shoulder problems that “act up” after certain activities are usually related to pain in the muscles and fascia, not the spine.

When muscles and connective tissues undergo damage or injury, what usually results is myofascial pain. There’s a lot most people don’t understand about myofascial pain, which is often attributed to where it seems to originate, such as the back, pelvic region, feet, neck pain, head, and other areas.

Understanding what myofascial pain is and its causes can make it easier to treat and achieve long-term healing.

What is Myofascial Pain?

Myofascial is derived from “myo,” meaning muscle, and “fascia,” the connective tissue that covers and intertwines with muscle cells. When the hyperactive small areas in muscles, tendons, or their associated fascia become irritated, they irritate and squish free nerve endings that cause myofascial pain.

What Is So Significant About These Trigger Points?

When muscles contract, they shorten. A trigger point is that part of the muscle that gets stuck in this contracted state. It’s also a place where the autonomic nervous system interacts with the muscle to set its tension baseline. 

Trigger points form in muscles, tendons, and fascia as a response to injury. The injury can be from repetitive strain and microtrauma, crush injury, sudden strain, bone fracture, and other such injuries.

Trigger points typically feel like nodules or knots of tightness within a ropey band of muscle. The trigger points are in the tightest parts of these rope-like bands. A trained examiner can usually feel these trigger points, which is essential in diagnosing myofascial pain because it doesn’t show up on medical tests like X-rays or CT and MRI scans.

Trigger points cause continued shortening, resulting in restricted motion, muscle weakness, and pain. The pain can feel like numbness, tingling, burning, aching, cramping, sharp, dull, or radiating. The following are what can happen to patients experiencing sensations and tightening attributed to trigger points:

  • Shortening of hamstrings so that a person can’t touch their toes when their knees are straight
  • Muscle weakness from a previous injury
  • Referred pain symptoms, which can be quite severe and distant from the source. Referred pain might radiate down the leg from the lower back and buttocks. It can also go down the arm and into the hand from the neck and upper back or travel to the head from the neck, upper shoulders, and jaw.
  • Tension headaches and migraines
  • Repetitive strain and motion in overused muscles
  • Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, erroneously thought to come from inflammation or scar tissue
  • Wrist pain and tenderness from trigger points in forearm muscles
  • Pain in the buttocks mistakenly diagnosed as bursitis or attributed to inflammation of the hip joint
  • Pelvic pain mistakenly attributed to the pudendal nerve.
  • Growing pains in children, located in the legs, feet, ankles, and knees
  • Phantom limb pain after amputation, with radiating pain traveling to the missing body part

What Can Be Done About Myofascial Pain?

There are many therapies and treatments to help adults and children with myofascial pain. These include

  • Bodywork, such as myofascial release
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture
  • Stretching
  • Photobiomodulated light therapy and Firefly
  • ARPWave therapy
  • Myofascial trigger point injections and other injection techniques like prolotherapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), stem cell therapy, and neural therapy

To supplement myofascial pain treatment, an integrative provider can treat pain, stress, and tension with

  • Acupuncture
  • Thought field therapy
  • Biofeedback, EEG biofeedback, and Heartmath biofeedback
  • Healing touch
  • Environmental detoxification
  • Aromatherapy
  • Photon therapy (infrared light) Firefly
  • Massage therapy
  • ARPWave theray

Nutrition is also vital for reducing pain, relieving fatigue, and improving total body wellness. Nutritional supplementation and various therapies can make a tremendous difference in giving the body the support it needs to heal. Since nutritional change is likely to be very important for a change in health, we provide one-on-one sessions under Dr. Blatman’s direction to help our patients make these changes as easily as possible. Food sensitivity testing can be added to the healing program to address bowel problems, headaches, pain, fatigue, and mental cloudiness.

Another important approach to tackling myofascial pain is stress management. Specific nervous system mechanisms can make muscles generate discomfort when we experience more stress. Since it’s not likely we’ll ever live in a completely stress-free environment, we can use techniques that change how we respond to stressful stimuli and events.

Finally, a good night’s sleep is critical to healing. Sleep deprivation causes fatigue and diffuse pain patterns to occur in most people. Your provider can prescribe non-addictive medication or recommend supplements that help restore standard sleep patterns. This often has a beneficial effect on pain and other common symptoms like fatigue.

Is There Hope If I Suffer from Myofascial Pain?

Yes, there is hope! You don’t have to tolerate or merely “live with” myofascial pain.

Research is helping doctors to understand more about body mechanisms involved in myofascial pain. Also, increasing numbers of physicians like Dr. Blatman are skilled in targeting trigger points when treating pain.

If you want to learn more about myofascial pain or think you could benefit from natural pain treatment, contact Blatman Health and Wellness Center today to schedule an appointment. You can also go online to request an office visit.

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