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Muscle Pain

Muscle pain is about pain and inflammation in the body's soft tissues.  This is a chronic condition that affects the fascia, which is a layer of connective tissue that covers the muscles.  Muscle pain, sometimes called myofascial pain syndrome, 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.  The defining term can be called a trigger point, which is characterized by referred pain.  That is, pain that occurs at a different location than the actual injury.

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:

  • Avoidable Muscle Abuse (E.G., repetitive motion injury)
  • Unavoidable Muscle Abuse (E.G., falls  and auto collisions)
  • Lack of activity (such as having a broken arm in a sling)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lack of certain vitamins or minerals (E.G., vitamins B1, B6, B12,vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium).

The sensory symptoms created by myofascial trigger points take a variety of forms and they aren’t limited to the sense of pain.  Symptoms of dysfunction – such as muscle stiffness, weakness, edema, nausea, dizziness, and postural distortions, to name a few – are even more diverse. 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, sleep and behavioral disturbances.

Trigger points can be identified by pain that results when pressure is applied to an 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.

Trigger points are the primary cause of muscle pain and the public suffers pain needlessly because too many doctors are still uninformed about them.  Misdiagnosis of pain and ineffective treatments often characterize the practice of medicine, resulting in enormous unnecessary cost, both to the pocketbook and to quality of life.  Too many people grimly live with pain that is very real and that could be very easily treated if their doctor or other health-care practitioner would simply take the time to acquire the appropriate knowledge.

Pain medications such as non-steroidal  anti-inflammatories, acetaminophen or opioids continue to be the treatment of choice because they work so well in reducing the awareness of pain.  But pain must always be viewed as a warning that something is wrong and needs attention. 

Physical intervention is necessary to affect trigger points.  Conventional stretching exercises are not sufficiently specific to affect trigger points in a dependable way.  Applications of heat or cold may temporarily reduce pain but they won’t deactivate your trigger points.  For dependable results, therapy needs to be applied directly to the trigger point.

Effective treatments include:

  • "Stretch and spray" technique: This treatment involves spraying the muscle and trigger point with a coolant and then slowly stretching the muscle.
  • Deep Stroking Massage – the safest and most effective method of trigger point therapy.
  • Trigger point injection – inject the trigger point with a mild dose of procaine.
Product Category Recommendations: Musculoskeletal Health
Words from our in House Expert:

dr.-dave-bordered.jpgDr. Dave States: Wobenzyme both topically and orally are both effective in helping this condition.  Massage and stretching are both a necessity for proper recovery.  Calcium and magnesium are instrumental in making sure that proper recovery can happen.
Should you have any further questions, we would love to hear from you!  Contact Us.