The myofascial pain syndrome is a medical condition that is as real as it is mysterious. Although it is acknowledged as a medical condition in its full rights, the harsh truth is that no research has been able to reveal precisely what its causes are.
The chronic myofascial pain is a type of chronic pain that can become very difficult to handle. And yet, since researchers have not yet been able to figure out what it is that causes the development of this condition, no cure has been developed either.
Under these circumstances, the people suffering with myofascial pain are left to try to manage their pain and the other symptoms as well as they can. Of course, this includes a change in one’s lifestyle more than often, both when it comes to one’s way of living proper and when it comes to one’s diet.
The Myofascial Pain Syndrome Explained
The explanations given up to the moment on how this syndrome behaves are quite dim, but they still can provide you with a better understanding of why the pain you are feeling is so awful. Trying to understand your medical condition will be useful when you really want to make a change, especially because you will know very well why that change has to be made as soon as possible.
The myofascial pain syndrome is caused by the several fascial constrictions and trigger points. Its most common symptoms are very deep pain in a muscle, tender knots in muscles and pain that is persistent and probably worsens over the time. Also, referred pain (pain that appears in another location than the location that was put under pressure, for example) and having a limited range of motion after sustained trigger point pressure are quite common too. Even more than that, a lot of patients suffering from chronic myofascial pain also suffer from insomnia and poor sleeping habits caused by their pain.
Very often, the myofascial pain syndrome is mistaken with fibromyalgia (and the other way around). The two syndromes share quite a lot of symptoms together and even a physician can be easily misled by them. For instance, both fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain show symptoms such as sleep issues, headaches, tinnitus, balance problems, dizziness and worsening of all the symptoms when the patient goes through a stressful period. Even more than that, fibromyalgia and the myofascial pain syndrome very frequently appear together in patients and this makes them even more difficult to diagnose.
And yet, at their very core, they are completely different and therefore, the treatment applied in each case is different. For instance, myofascial pain shows symptoms such as clicking of the joints, a limited range of motion in the jaw, numbness experienced in the extremities, blurry vision and nausea – all of which are not encountered in the case of fibromyalgia too.
Also, it is to be kept in mind the fact that the treatment applied for these two syndromes can be very different and that a correct diagnosis is the key to trying to ameliorate the situation for those who need it so much.
What Causes the Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
As it was also mentioned in the beginning, there is no known cause for the myofascial pain syndrome. However, researchers have managed to come up with several theories that may give us a better idea on why it is that we develop this syndrome. Although these theories are related more to risk factors than to actual causes, they are still helpful in understanding everything better.
For instance, there are people who sustain that the sensitivity of the trigger points can develop as a result of an injury. Furthermore, the myofascial pain syndrome has also been associated with several systematic diseases (such as connective tissue disease, for example).To these, researchers add poor posture and emotional turmoil (such as stress) as important risk factors that could lead to the development of the syndrome.
What Treatment Is There For the Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
The chronic myofascial pain can be managed through multiple practices and forms of treatment. For example, massage therapy is used to alleviate pain on the short-term and physiotherapy is used to improve the range of motion in the case of those patients who experience symptoms related to this.
Also, there are 3 main types of medication that are frequently administered for patients with chronic myofascial pain: muscle relaxants, anti-depressants and anticonvulsants. All of these drugs help people live better lives even when diagnosed with this terrible syndrome.
Trigger point injections are also practiced, but the truth is that there are many specialists who will simply refuse to do it because they believe that there is not enough evidence to sustain the idea that these injections are helpful and because they also lack the training in administering such injections as well.
So, how is Alcohol Related to All These Things?
As it was explained throughout this article, the myofascial pain syndrome is characterized by symptoms that appear primarily in the muscles. Therefore, maintaining your muscles in excellent health is one of the things you should to in order to improve your condition.
Alcohol is one of the worst things you could do to your muscles. When you drink alcohol, your body becomes dehydrated and one of the first places from which the water will evaporate will be the muscles – and this is definitely something that can make the condition much worse and that can make the pain feel more poignant too.
Aside from alcohol, you should also try to avoid nicotine and caffeine as well because they have a similar effect on your muscles as well. Even more than that, you should try to balance out your diet as well as possible because it can make a really big difference in the way you will feel and in the intensity of the pain. Generally speaking, a healthy diet consisting of lean meats, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and good fats (salmon, olive oil, and so on) is the kind of diet you should be aiming for.