Victims of severe work injuries are at risk for chronic pain disorders that can be debilitating. I have seen several injured workers who, during the course of their recovery, develop pain that is in another area of the body. Sometimes, the pain can seem to be unrelated and even unexplained until the patient is properly diagnosed.
I have taken the below information from the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/) to share with you some information on myofascial pain syndrome and how it is identified. If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms below, you need to discuss this with your doctor right away.
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder. In myofascial pain syndrome, pressure on sensitive points in your muscles (trigger points) causes pain in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. This is called referred pain.
Signs and symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome may include:
- Deep, aching pain in a muscle
- Pain that persists or worsens
- A tender knot in a muscle
- Difficulty sleeping due to pain
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience muscle pain that doesn’t go away. Nearly everyone experiences muscle pain from time to time. But if your muscle pain persists despite rest, massage, and similar self-care measures, make an appointment with your doctor.
Sensitive areas of tight muscle fibers can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse. These sensitive areas are called trigger points. A trigger point in a muscle can cause strain and pain throughout the muscle. When this pain persists and worsens, doctors call it myofascial pain syndrome.
Myofascial pain syndrome is caused by a stimulus, such as pressure, that sets off trigger points in your muscles. Factors that may increase your risk of muscle trigger points include:
Muscle injury- An acute muscle injury or continual muscle stress may lead to the development of trigger points. For example, a spot within or near a strained muscle may become a trigger point. Repetitive motions and poor posture also may increase your risk.
Stress and anxiety- People who frequently experience stress and anxiety may be more likely to develop trigger points in their muscles. One theory is that these people may be more likely to clench their muscles, a form of repeated strain that leaves muscles susceptible to trigger points.
Complications associated with myofascial pain syndrome may include:
Sleep problems – Signs and symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome may make it difficult to sleep at night. You may have trouble finding a comfortable sleep position. And if you move at night, you might hit a trigger point and awaken.
Fibromyalgia- Some research suggests that myofascial pain syndrome may develop into fibromyalgia in some people. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that features widespread pain. It’s believed that the brains of people with fibromyalgia become more sensitive to pain signals over time. Some doctors believe myofascial pain syndrome may play a role in starting this process.
If you are dealing with chronic pain as the result of a work injury or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia,” or call our office today (804) 755-7755.
Michele Lewane, Esq.