Musculoskeletal Pain is pain which occurs in the bones, ligaments and muscles. The causes for musculoskeletal pain vary widely. Sometimes muscle tissue is damaged by the everyday wear and tear of normal activities. Muscles may be strained due to excessive exercise or during periods of physical exertion. Muscular injury may also occur with conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, fractures and sprains.
There are many different symptoms which can occur with a variety of musculoskeletal pain conditions. When you visit your healthcare provider, he will evaluate your symptoms and determine what kind of treatment is best for you. The treatment options will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Common causes of musculoskeletal pain include:
Arthritis: Arthritis is a disease which results from the inflammation of the joints. There are many different types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and autoimmune arthritis. Many people suffer from joint pain caused by inflammation. Some of these conditions have no known causes; however, others have known causes which have recently been discovered through modern research. Examples of known causes of arthritis include genetics, obesity, viral infections and trauma. Inflammation is usually one of the first symptoms of this disease.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: A physical examination and a complete medical history are usually required when a patient complains of any type of pain in their neck, back, arms or legs. A doctor may perform various tests in order to find the underlying cause of the symptoms. If the cause is determined, your doctor may recommend treatments for your specific condition.
Fibromyalgia and Other Symptoms: A common cause of musculoskeletal pain among women is fibromyalgia. This syndrome is characterized by widespread pain throughout the body, including the shoulders, buttocks, legs, feet, and even the hands and wrists. Women who experience fibromyalgia often report having very painful sex. Women with this syndrome often feel fatigue, difficulty falling asleep, headaches, numbness or tingling in the extremities and irritability. It can also be accompanied by severe depression.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia tend to vary depending on the location of the stiff muscles. In some cases, there may be just localized pain. In other instances, the pain may extend into the shoulders and arms, or down the legs. However, muscle weakness is the most common symptom. Weakness occurs in the limbs and is typically worsened by standing for long periods of time or moving around.
To treat chronic musculoskeletal pain, many physicians turn to a combination of prescription medications and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Some physicians may prefer to avoid NSAIDs altogether, however, as they may increase the risk of bleeding and ulcers. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help alleviate some symptoms, but are not effective for everyone.
Many physicians and chiropractors believe that acupuncture and massage therapies can be helpful in treating many types of musculoskeletal disorders. These treatments can relieve tension in the muscles, which in turn relieves the pain. Acupuncture and massage are effective treatments for some causes of chronic pain, but they should never be used in place of standard treatments such as prescription medications and NSAIDs.
Musculoskeletal conditions that cause pain include tendinitis, tendonitis, bursitis, cystitis, tendon rupture, myofascial pain and trigger points, among others. Tendonitis is the most common cause of muscle pain, especially in athletes. The symptoms include stiffness, clicking and popping in the tendons. Tendon rupture can lead to permanent damage if not treated promptly. Trigger points, which cause localized muscle pain, are very specific to each person and often only respond to exercise.
To accurately treat a patient’s musculoskeletal pain, the doctor needs to know about the patient’s medical history, which may be difficult to acquire if the patient has no symptoms. The doctor also needs to know about the activities the patient is involved in, including the type of injury, if there has been any prior injury and if there have been any recent changes in the patient’s lifestyle.
These details will help the physician evaluate the situation and determine the best course of treatment. Physical examination and the use of diagnostic imaging tools such as x-rays, MRI and CT scans are useful in assessing the situation.
Treatment of muscles and ligaments that are involved in the cause of musculoskeletal pain typically involves physical therapy to strengthen the injured tissues, massage to relieve tension in the muscles and use of pain medications to reduce inflammation. Rest is usually prescribed for patients who are undergoing treatment to prevent any further damage to the tendons.
Patients who are completely healed after a period of rehabilitation are usually allowed to resume normal activities. However, rehabilitation may be required for patients with severely damaged tendons or ligaments.
It is important to remember that all kinds of musculoskeletal pain are caused by the same underlying issues. Ongoing damage to muscles, ligaments and tendons results in abnormal tension and stress on the tissues, resulting in inflammatory processes that contribute to chronic pain. In addition, a deficiency in essential vitamins and minerals can also result in such injuries.
By identifying the underlying issues and addressing them, you can prevent the development of such conditions that can lead to extreme pain and disability. For more information on what to do if you think you have an injury that has resulted in chronic pain or other problems, talk to your doctor today.