Myofascial Pain Triggers

Everyone has muscle pain now and then, but there’s a difference between normal aches from overuse and long-term pain that takes on a life of its own. Muscle pain that plagues you for three months or more may be a sign of myofascial pain syndrome (MPS), chronic inflammation of the tissue covering the muscles that needs professional medical treatment.

Dr. Stanley Mathew, our triple-board certified pain specialist at American Rehabilitation Medicine in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, understands the frustration of searching for answers and relief from unexplained muscle pain. His unique approach to healthcare as an expert physiatrist involves getting to the root cause of your myofascial pain syndrome to stop it at its source, rather than masking it with drugs. 

If you’ve been living with muscle pain that won’t go away no matter what you try, you can trust Dr. Mathew’s experience and skill to diagnose your condition and resolve it quickly, so you can move around pain-free once again. Here’s what you need to know.

Myofascial pain syndrome explained

There are several different types of muscle pain. You can strain a muscle by overusing it or overstretching it. You can suffer a contusion, or bruise, in your muscle tissue after taking a hard blow (you may know this as a Charlie horse). An injury can also tear or lacerate a muscle. Inactivity and certain illnesses may cause your muscles to atrophy and become weak and painful. But myofascial pain syndrome is different from all of these.

Myofascial pain is characterized by pain that gets worse over time, not better. Classic symptoms include:

This last point is a key difference between MPS and other types of muscle pain. People who suffer from MPS have trigger points in their muscles that feel like tight knots. They’re sore and tender on their own, but when you apply pressure to them, you also feel pain in an unrelated place on your body. This is called referred pain, and it’s a distinct symptom of MPS.

These symptoms closely mirror fibromyalgia, which also involves chronic muscle pain. But fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain, while MPS pain is more localized. Fibromyalgia sufferers have tender points all over their body, but MPS sufferers have specific trigger points that stimulate referred pain.

What triggers your trigger points?

Myofascial pain syndrome stems from several different sources and activities. It can come from an injury, poor posture, or sitting too long. It might be due to poor nutrition, lack of sleep, or hormonal imbalances. Even emotional problems like depression, stress, and anxiety can start the MPS train rolling. These are just a few of the conditions that can lead to painful trigger points, which come in four types:

  1. Active: currently painful; causes referred pain when touched
  2. Latent: dormant until activated by stress or trauma
  3. Secondary: activated by stress on a nearby muscle
  4. Satellite: becomes active when you press on another trigger point

Whatever type of trigger point you have, and whatever’s causing your myofascial pain syndrome, the most important thing is stopping it, and Dr. Mathew has the relief you’ve been searching for.

How trigger point injections stop MPS pain

When traditional, conservative treatments do nothing to curb your MPS pain, Dr. Mathew offers trigger point injections that go straight to the source. Depending on your unique set of circumstances, he may recommend one of three variations:

  1. Combo of a local anesthetic and a corticosteroid, which provides immediate relief plus long-term inflammation reduction
  2. Botox®, which stops muscle spasms and contractions
  3. Dry needling, which uses no medication at all, only the stimulation of the needle point

All these treatments produce instant and lasting pain relief by relaxing the muscles and releasing the tension and knots. There’s no need to live with MPS any longer. Dr. Mathew offers a quick, minimally invasive, and highly effective way to kick your MPS pain to the curb. 

To find out if you’re a good candidate for this simple, yet successful, treatment, call us at 319-369-7331, or schedule a consultation with Dr. Mathew online today. 

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