The chronic myofascial pain or the myofascial pain syndrome is a medical condition that is both common and extremely unknown (even inside the medical world). While millions of people are affected by it, the mystery surrounding its actual cause still stands and none of the researches made in this particular medical niche have been able to find out exactly what is it that triggers the development of this syndrome.
Basically, the syndrome is characterized by pain felt in certain trigger points and in the fascia. In addition to this major symptom, there are a lot of other symptoms that can appear, including symptoms of affected vision, balance and memory.
One patient’s symptoms can differ a lot from the other one’s symptoms and the fact that most of the symptoms can be commonly encountered in the case of other syndromes and medical conditions as well (fibromyalgia, for instance), makes putting the correct diagnosis very difficult.
Moreover, there are a lot of patients who suffer from CMP and who do not show pain in the area of the trigger point, but in a completely different place (and this is called “referred pain”). When this happens, the diagnosis is made even more difficult and the medical professional may be led to believe that the patient is suffering from a completely different medical condition.
CMP – Potential Causes and Risk Factors
As mentioned before, the actual cause that leads to the development of the chronic myofascial pain is not yet known. Various theories have been brought up, but the researchers have not agreed upon a single one yet.
Some of them believe that the development of MPS is strongly connected to stressful events in the patient’s life, to depression and to sleep issues. However, this may not be entirely accurate, as these can also be considered symptoms or simply risk factors of the syndrome in some of the cases. At the same time, other schools of thought are based on the idea that the development of this type of chronic pain is related to systematic diseases, while others believe that injury or shock can lead to its development.
There is no “recipe” for avoiding the development of the chronic myofascial pain, but there are things you can try, according to the specialists. For instance, many patients are believed to have started developing this syndrome after reinjury, so you can try to avoid that. Also, you should try avoiding bad sleeping patterns and stressful situations and you should make sure to treat any form of depression that you may feel that it is approaching.
Common Drugs for CMP and Why They are Used
When a patient is diagnosed with chronic myofascial pain, the doctor will prescribe a combination of drugs and alternative remedies. Both of these are extremely important in the treatment of the patient and if you are in this situation, then you should make sure to follow your doctor’s prescription almost religiously.
Furthermore, do make sure that you maintain the same physician over the course of your treatment, since he/she will be able to monitor you from the very beginning until the moment you stop needing treatment.
Drugs that are used in treating MPS include pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-depressants, sleeping pills, and so on. However, they will only be prescribed as they are needed and according to the patient’s symptoms, age and ability to work with the medication. In general, the doctor will want to help the patient relieve himself/herself from the major symptoms and all the medication prescribed will have this purpose.
Trigger point injections are used in the treatment of CMP as well and although their efficacy has not been completely proven yet, it is believed that it can show results. Since this type of treatment was usually applied on muscle pain patients and since CMP is, in one way or another a type of muscle pain, these injections can work quite well.
Do keep in mind that if you have certain allergies you should tell your doctor about them and that you can still get this treatment with a “clean needle”(without any kind of drug in the syringe).
The most important thing you should know about the medication you are prescribed with is that you should never use it without the prescription of the doctor. Moreover, if you feel that a certain drug is not making you feel alright (or that it simply has no effect on you), the first place to go is back to your doctor. Explain exactly what you feel and how you feel it and the medical professional will be able to replace that drug with something else.
It happens quite often that the patients are prescribed certain drugs or combination of drugs only for a shorter period of time, precisely because the doctor wanta to test everything out and to see which “formula” works best.
For instance, you may be required to take one sleeping pill during the first week and another one during the second one. In time, the treatment will be stabilized and you will get almost the same medication every time your doctor writes you a prescription.
Moreover, do keep in mind that certain pills may have to be used for a short period of time because they can only help with one particular symptom which can be “cured” in a shorter amount of time.
The prescriptions you receive are another reason for which you should stick to one physician and for which changing your doctor is not a good idea. He/she will know what you have been taking until now and he/she will be able to remember which types of drugs were OK for you and which were not OK.
In addition to the prescription drugs, make sure to follow your physician’s “alternative” recommendations as well. Massages, working out and even picking up activities such as Yoga and Tai-Chi can be helpful for your condition (but do remember to talk to your doctor before actually performing these activities).