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Muscle pain, also called myofascial pain, is simply pain and inflammation in the soft tissue of the body. Anyone can develop myofascial pain and it is estimated that everyone will experience muscular pain at least several times in their lives.
Myofascial pain may be caused by a variety of factors, which can be strenuous exercise, repetitive motion, sleeping in an odd position, increased bodily tension, etc. There are also diseases and colds that may cause muscle pain, such as the flu, or even the common cold can cause some minor aches/pains.
It is important to realize the majority of non traumatic pain will resolve on its own within 2-4 weeks. It is generally recommended waiting at least 1-2 weeks to have a new pain, which is NOT related to any trauma or accident, addressed as it could go away during that time.
"Myofascial pain may be caused by a variety of factors, which can
be strenuous exercise, repetitive motion, sleeping in an odd
position, increased bodily tension, etc."
Myofascial pain, from trigger points, is pain that persists for some time and tends to get progressively worse. Most of the time (about 85%) pain is felt somewhere other than where the pain generator, or trigger point, is located. This is called referred pain.
The treatment process to work with myofascial pain is comprehensive since there are many factors, called perpetuating factors, which “fuel the fire” of myofascial pain as shown in the illustration below.
Myofascial Trigger Point (Clinical Definition): A hyperirritable spot in skeletal muscle that is associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule in a taut band. The spot is painful on compression and may give rise to characteristic referred pain, referred tenderness, motor dysfunction, and autonomic phenomena.
Myofascial Trigger Point (Layman's Terms): A 'knot' in a muscle, which causes pain that is mostly deep, dull, and aching. A trigger point can also cause a sensation that makes a person feel like pain is radiating somewhere else (usually close by) and may also make the affected body part feel weak.
Check out the cross section of a trigger point.
Myofascial Pain can be a process to diagnose since many different conditions can affect the soft tissues of the body.
An experienced practitioner will attempt to rule out other pathologies first, such as visceral (organ) conditions, neuropathies, and/or orthopedic concerns. A comprehensive history and blood work will also be ordered.
It is important to see a health care practitioner who is familiar with myofascial pain if you feel you have it - perhaps even one who dedicates their practice to treating only myofascial pain.
The treatment of myofascial pain from trigger points can vary greatly from one practitioner to another. Since there are a variety of different treatments for myofascial pain it is important for a person to research the different types of treatment to determine which is the best place to start.
When utilizing a resource as vast as the internet please keep the following in mind:
Ultimately, at least in this practice, a person will learn to manage their own condition through education, self treatment, stretching, and supplementation, where indicated.