Although the world of medicine has clearly evolved a lot over the course of the past few decades, the truth is that there are still medical conditions out there that are rather mysterious in one way or another.
In those cases, although researches are constantly being done, the medical professionals have not yet been able to understand how it all works and how that particular medical condition can be actually cured (and not just treated for its symptoms).
The myofascial pain syndrome is one of those medical conditions. In the case of the patients who suffer from it, the doctors will understand the symptoms and they will be able to put the right diagnosis.
However, they cannot yet understand the actual causes of the disease and, in consequence, they cannot treat it properly.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome: The Basics
The myofascial pain syndrome is usually characterized by tenderness and pain in the so-called “trigger points”, by muscle pain, by spams and by a series of other symptoms such as the weakness of the muscle, having a limited range of motion when the trigger points are pressured and suffering from referred pain (the pain appears somewhere else than the trigger point that has been pressured).
Furthermore, this syndrome is highly similar to another one, which also causes chronic pain: fibromyalgia.
However, in the case of the MPS, the pain can be very much localized and it can be asymmetrical (it appears only on one side of the body, for instance), while in the case of fibromyalgia, any muscle in the body can be affected.
Unlike in the case of MPS, fibromyalgia is not associated with any kind of inflammation and this is one of the biggest differences between the two of them.
Even more, while certain symptoms are similar to both of these medical conditions (pain in the soft tissue, balance issues, hearing noise in the ears and feeling pain in them as well, memory issues, sleeping issues, balance issues and so on), each of them shows a set of symptoms that are not encountered in the patients suffering from the other syndrome.
For instance, numbness in the extremities and doubled vision are only typical to the myofascial pain syndrome, while fatigue, panic attacks and confusion are typical to fibromyalgia.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome: the Potential Causes
As mentioned before, MPS is one of those medical conditions for which researchers have not yet been able to give a full answer.
Its real causes are yet to be discovered and until then, the treatment available for patients will never be at its maximum.
It is nowadays believed that the myofascial pain syndrome is associated in one way or another to depression, with living a stressful life and with having bad sleeping patterns.
Furthermore, some of the medical professionals out there believe that injury and even poor posture can be risk factors in the case of the MPS patients.
In addition to this, it is believed that there are certain systemic diseases (such as connective tissue disease, for instance) that can lead to the development of MPS.
MPS and Its Diagnosis
As mentioned before, diagnosing the myofascial pain syndrome can be tricky sometimes, since it is highly similar with fibromyalgia, another chronic pain syndrome.
The right diagnosis is absolutely essential, since it will give better guidelines for the treatment of the patient (which, in the case of these two syndromes, is different from one to the other one).
When diagnosing MPS, the medical professional will make sure to analyze all the areas of the body that are felt to be painful by the patient.
Unlike in the case of fibromyalgia, not a lot of extensive testing will be necessary though.
However, the two syndromes are frequently diagnosed together, so the patient may have to undergo further testing as well.
The Trigger Point Therapy for MPS: What is It and How Does it Work?
If a patient is diagnosed with MPS, he/she will have to undergo treatment, which usually combines multiple things, from prescription drugs to injections and from physical therapy to acupuncture.
The so-called “trigger point therapy” that is applied in the case of the patients who suffer from myofascial pain syndrome is usually related to relieving the muscles from pain.
Basically, the trigger point is “killed” with the injection and thus the pain in that area stops for the patient.
These trigger point injections do not take more than a few minutes and they are given at the doctor’s office.
Moreover, if you are allergic to something contained by the drug in the injection, then you should know the fact that “clean-needle” injections can work as well for the relief of the painful trigger points around your body.
Also, you should know that multiple areas of the body can be treated during the same session.
The trigger point injections have been used for quite a while to relief the pain in the muscles of the patients.
Fibromyalgia patients and tension headaches patients have benefited from these injections and it is quite recently that trigger point therapy for myofascial pain started to be used.
However, this treatment is administered for MPS patients only when everything else fails to give results and it is not even 100% to be helpful (since researches are still being done regarding this issue).
Suffering from myofascial pain syndrome can be not only painful, but nerve-wrecking as well.
This syndrome cannot be actually avoided, since its causes are not yet known. At the same time, it cannot be actually treated, for the very same reason.
In addition to that, the patient may feel overwhelmed by the pain, as well as by the fact that he/she developed this medical condition in a rather random way.
Patients can eventually get better, but it can take anything between a few weeks and a few years to “cure” themselves completely.
The best thing to do is to have a good physician who will recommend all the treatments that you need and to stick with him/her, since he/she will be able to monitor you from the very beginning of your journey to getting better to the very end.