Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic condition where pressure on trigger points in your muscles results in pain in this specific muscle and possibly in other parts of your body. It usually occurs due to injuries or repetitive use of a specific muscle in professional occupations or hobbies. Emotional stress, pinched nerves, or poor posture can also increase your risk of developing this chronic condition. Myofascial pain syndrome can happen to any muscle, but it often does in the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Common signs of myofascial pain syndrome include:
- Deep, throbbing pain in a muscle
- Muscle tenderness or weakness
- Trigger points: small bumps or knots in the muscle that are painful to the touch
- Reduced range of motion
The pain may persist or worsen. It can cause sleep disturbances. You may also experience headaches, fatigue, or mental health issues like stress and anxiety.
A physical examination of your muscles is an effective diagnostic method. Finding the trigger points, which may be active, latent, secondary, or satellite depending on your body’s response, helps identify the affected areas. They may also evaluate your gait and posture.
The diagnostic process does not involve imaging, laboratory, or other medical tests. There are no visible signs like swelling or warmth. Your doctor may however ask questions about your symptoms, including their location, intensity, onset, frequency, and what may improve or aggravate them.
A physical therapist can use various methods to treat myofascial pain depending on your symptoms, age, and general health. A customized care plan typically increases your chances of recovery.
Your PT plan may involve:
- Core and other muscle strengthening
- Cupping for stretching the muscle and boost blood flow
- EPAT (Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology) to accelerate the healing process
- Posture training especially if you experience myofascial pain in the neck area
- Massage for tension release and pain relief
- Stretching to reduce pain and restore range of motion
- Ultrasound to promote blood circulation and muscle healing
Your physical therapist can also walk you through how to apply heat to relieve soreness or proper sleep positions. They can also collaborate with your primary care provider if you take medications as part of your treatment plan.
Home Exercises and Lifestyle Habits
Your physical therapist often demonstrates at-home exercises for you to do on a specific schedule to support your recovery. They can also recommend low-impact activities to maintain physical activity safely. Educating you on proper techniques for workouts or everyday tasks such as carrying heavy objects is common too. Telehealth PT services can help you learn about modifications you can make at home if you are unable to schedule an in-office visit at the time.
They can talk about relaxing solutions to alleviate your stress and increase mindfulness. Implementing healthy habits can help manage or eliminate pain associated with myofascial pain syndrome. Nutritional changes can also positively affect your chronic pain as certain foods may cause inflammation which can worsen myofascial pain.
If you are looking for myofascial pain treatment in Monmouth or Middlesex Counties, contact ProFysio Physical Therapy today at (732) 812-5200 to schedule an appointment.