Among the many different conditions/diseases, chiropractic care is used to treat, myofascial pain syndrome is certainly one of the most common ones. This chronic pain disorder can affect the fibrous connective tissue (known as fascia) and muscles anywhere in the body which typically results in ‘knots’ just beneath the skin. Depending on the cause or the amount of time that has passed since the condition began, patients may experience mild to severe pain when diagnosed with myofascial pain syndrome.
Understanding Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Like bones and organs, muscles in the human body are encased with deep fascia – a thin connective tissue that keeps them in place. There are nerve endings in the fascia which are quite sensitive and, when signals of stress are picked up, will tighten, thus causing pain or discomfort.
The difference between healthy fascia and stressed fascia is that the former is naturally flexible, slippery, and smooth – this allows the muscles to glide over each other without any problems; the latter, on the other hand, causes adhesions between muscles which ultimately lead to chronic pain.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome can be caused by trauma to the body or muscles, or other activities that include consistently overworking a group of muscles or part of the body. Lack of activity can also lead to a form of muscle pain due to weakening while other causes include surgical procedures and injury.
Identifying Myofascial Pain Syndrome
There are a few common symptoms of Myofascial Pain Syndrome including spots of tightness in muscles, or knots that feel like hard, marble-sized balls under the skin. Accompanying symptoms include pain, discomfort, numbness, tingling, burning sensations, and weakness.
Also known as ‘trigger points’, a knot is not always easy to locate because the pain can sometimes occur away from the muscle that it is affecting. This is known as ‘referred pain’ which often leads to patients believing that they are suffering from a condition other than Myofascial Pain Syndrome. What’s worse is that misdiagnosis (by oneself) invites the wrong type of treatment which is both ineffective and dangerous.
Upon examination, experienced and licensed chiropractors can determine exactly where the trigger point is, and offer a wide range of chiropractic techniques to treat the condition, thus alleviating patients of chronic pain. They can also advise patients on lifestyle changes and exercise plans that will help prevent the onset of Myofascial Pain Syndrome in the future.
How Does Chiropractic Treatment Cure Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
Unlike over-the-counter medication that provides temporary relief from muscle pain, chiropractic care ensures that targeted treatments are provided to tackle the trigger point head-on. If you are dealing with Myofascial Pain Syndrome, read on to learn how chiropractors cure and manage chronic pain disorders using various chiropractic techniques.
Applying Pressure to the Knot
Once the trigger point has been located, the chiropractor will apply pressure directly to the knot using his/her thumb or finger. In doing so, the professional can judge how the muscle responds to the pressure and proceed with treatment accordingly. With this technique, knots are released or inactivated, thus allowing the muscle to relax and recover.
Applying pressure to trigger points is the safest, non-invasive chiropractic treatment for Myofascial Pain Syndrome, and is highly recommended for its effectiveness in melting away knots in the muscles.
When a muscle is damaged due to trauma or injury, scar tissue forms around it, causing muscles to stick together as opposed to gliding smoothly over one another. This is known as adhesions which can lead to mild or chronic pain, as well as affect joints by causing misalignment.
To break up adhesions, chiropractors use an Active Release Technique (ART) which involves manipulating soft tissues until the natural movement of muscles is restored. This technique also aids in regaining optimal blood flow to the area which, in turn, facilitates faster healing.
When a chiropractor is able to pinpoint a knot under the skin, dry needling is often a preferred treatment because it is safe, quick, and generally painless (patients may experience mild pain or discomfort during the treatment).
To loosen up a trigger point, one or more needles are carefully inserted into the skin and positioned to target the centre of the knot. During the treatment which can last anywhere between 1 and 10 minutes, the muscle begins to twitch, and the patient may experience slight pain in the same area or referred pain. When the trigger point has been inactivated, the chiropractor will remove the needles and your muscles will be able to move freely again.
Realigning the Spine
Among many other ill effects, a misaligned spine can affect the muscles and cause them to spasm because your whole body is not moving correctly. When this happens on a daily basis, the added strain on your muscles can lead to Myofascial Pain Syndrome and other problems including back aches, stiff joints, and nerve problems.
Depending on your progress, spinal manipulation by a trained chiropractor can realign your spine over the course of a few sessions. The correction will ensure that your body is functioning more naturally, thus relieving the muscles of unnecessary stress, and preventing other negative effects of a deformed spine.
For a thorough examination and subsequent treatment for Myofascial Pain Syndrome under one roof, visit MSK Therapy for a wide range of chiropractic treatments to cure and prevent a number of pain disorders and other health problems.