Myofascial Pain Syndrome


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Myofascial pain syndrome is a common ailment of the back and may be caused by a variety of health and lifestyle issues. The most important step towards combating this disease is to first understand it. So, here's a quick look at what myofascial pain syndrome is and its associated symptoms.

Myofascial pain refers to problems of the muscles and fascia of the body. The fascia is a key mechanism in most muscular disorders owing to its ubiquitous nature. It can be defined as a tough connective tissue that covers the ligaments, muscles and tendons and essentially unifies the entire muscular system to displace certain types of physical stressors. However, if the physical stressors exceed the tolerable limit; the muscles and fascia of the affected area would respond by becoming taut or tight in a bid to stabilize it- leading to pain.

Generally, this condition is caused by everyday activities such as working at the computer for long hours with little movement. Being in the same position for an extended period of time can result in the stiffening of the upper shoulder and back muscles. Sustained fatigue in this area can lead to weakened muscles and eventually; myofascial pain syndrome.

Other common causes for the syndrome include physical trauma such as bruises, contusions, sprains and strains, emotional stress, postural stress, inflammation, repetitive injury and neurological irritation triggered by spinal disk issues such as discogenic disease, herniation or disk bulging.

Myofascial pain syndrome is associated with several symptoms and health issues. These include diffused and dull pain, a general feeling of tightness and restricted motion or extreme soreness of the affected area. Referred pain is also a part of the disease and many patients may experience pain in regions that are not affected by the condition. This is because it is an internal pain and therefore, unspecific by nature. The syndrome is a difficult ailment to deal with; especially since it affects body regions that are used for normal functioning each day.

The disease can be remedied effectively with the help of evidence based treatments. Generally, most physicians recommend a variety of medical and non medical strategies to combat the same. Non medical treatment includes clinician assisted stretching techniques and massage therapy, manual therapy for muscle relaxation and retraining of affected muscles through neuromuscular re-education and other movement based techniques.  

Together with appropriate medication; these therapies can help stimulate muscles and encourage them to move together in a cohesive manner. As a result, they are able to resume their basic functioning and facilitate normal movement and stability.

Thus, a patient may use these techniques to recover from myofascial pain syndrome and resume day to day activities.