What Is Myofascial Pain Syndrome?

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Myofascial pain syndrome, also known as earache or windstroke, has similarities with fibromyalgia but proceeds differently. While fibromyalgia is more common in women, myofascial pain syndrome is equally common in both women and men. Symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome, which is a disease that can be treated without the need for surgery, can be alleviated by using appropriate techniques.

What Is Myofascial Pain Syndrome?

Myofascial pain syndrome is a condition that causes pain, stiffness, or limited movement in muscles. It is characterized by the breakdown and hardening of muscle tissue. Myofascial pain syndrome is also known as trigger point disease or regional muscle syndrome in medical literature. In Turkish, it is also known as kulunç. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.

Causes Of Myofascial Pain

Overstrain of the muscles or poor working conditions are considered to be the most common causes of myofascial pain syndrome. Other conditions that can cause myofascial pain syndrome can be listed as follows:

  • Damage to the muscle fibres due to excessive stress on the muscle and the formation of a calcium-rich tissue called fibrositis in the muscle due to this damage,
  • Shortening of the length of the muscle by so-called fibrositis, which causes restriction of joint movements,
  • Sudden strain of the neck muscles,
  • Slow but prolonged contraction of the neck muscles, especially in people who work at a desk for a long time,
  • Stressful work schedule,
  • Nerve compression due to spinal hernias.

Although these are the most common causes of myofascial pain syndromes, some other conditions can cause myofascial pain syndrome in rare cases. For example, genetic factors, occupational accidents, regular repetitive movements or herniated discs in the lower back and neck. Very rare causes include the following: Deficiency of certain minerals, poor posture, one leg being shorter than the other, viral infections, estrogen deficiency, hypothyroidism, hypoglycaemia, vitamin B deficiency and prolonged inactivity.

Symptoms Of Myofascial Pain

Stiffness in the area where the pain occurs is the most basic symptom of myofascial pain syndrome. If the conditions causing this stiffness are removed, it is possible that the stiffness will disappear spontaneously. This stiffness does not always cause pain or limitation of movement. Stiffness, stiffness, pain or tenderness in the areas where myofascial pain occurs are common symptoms. Other symptoms of myofascial pain can be listed as follows:

  • Tightness and burning in the muscles,
  • Restriction of joint movement or fatigue,
  • Head, back, neck, chest, lumbar, shoulder and sciatic pain.

Symptoms can sometimes be very mild and sometimes very severe. Although myofascial pain syndromes do not cause any life-threatening conditions, they significantly reduce the quality of life. In addition, pain can sometimes spread from the area where the syndrome develops and manifest itself at different points.

How Is Myofascial Pain Syndrome Treated?

The patient’s history and physical examination are usually sufficient for the diagnosis of myofascial pain syndrome. However, radiographic imaging methods or laboratory tests may be used if necessary. After diagnosis, a treatment plan is created based on both the patient’s complaints and the underlying causes of the disease. If the underlying cause of myofascial pain syndrome is a hernia, the treatment of this disease is required first.

In cases where the syndrome does not develop due to a hernia, trigger point injection is the most commonly used and effective method in the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome. This method, which provides rapid healing, can be done in one session or in 3-5 sessions. The patient’s condition is the determining factor here. In trigger point injection treatment, a needle is inserted into the painful area and medication is injected to relieve pain.

Other treatment methods that can be applied in cases where trigger point injection does not work or can be applied in conjunction with trigger point injection are as follows:

  • Combined use of ethylchloride sprays and stretching exercises,
  • Apply strong pressure,
  • Dry needle treatment,
  • Laser treatment,
  • ESWT shock wave therapy,
  • Massage,
  • Analgesic drugs, muscle relaxants and antidepressants,
  • Biofeedback,
  • TENS and various physical therapy applications,
  • Acupuncture.

All of these applications should be performed under the control of a specialist doctor. In addition, patients should regularly perform stretching exercises in their daily lives as recommended by the doctor.

Differences Between Myofascial Pain Syndrome And Fibromyalgia

Myofascial pain syndrome and fibromyalgia are two conditions that are often confused with each other, but there are some key differences between them. Here is a list of the main differences between the two conditions:

  • Myofascial pain syndrome affects a smaller area of muscle tissue, while fibromyalgia pain is more widespread.
  • Fibromyalgia is more common in women, while myofascial pain syndrome is equally common in men and women.
  • Myofascial pain syndrome causes stiffness and tenderness in one or a few areas, while fibromyalgia affects the entire body.
  • Myofascial pain syndrome is associated with less severe symptoms of sleep disturbance and fatigue than fibromyalgia.
  • Myofascial pain syndrome is easier to treat than fibromyalgia.

Myofascial pain syndrome is not a serious health threat, but it can still have a significant impact on a person’s daily life, social life, and work. To prevent these negative effects and relieve symptoms, it is important to seek treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.

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