What is chronic musculoskeletal pain?
Musculoskeletal pain affects the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves that is prolonged for 3 months or longer. Chronic (long-lasting) musculoskeletal pain can be localized in one area, or widespread. Once you have a dysfunction in one area, the areas above and below will compensate and extra load will be placed on these structures.
Lower back pain is the most common type of musculoskeletal pain. Other common types include tendonitis, myalgia (muscle pain), and stress fractures.
What are the causes of musculoskeletal pain?
Anyone can experience musculoskeletal pain. It is most often caused by an injury to the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves. This can be caused by jerking movements, car accidents, falls, fractures, sprains, dislocations, and direct blows to the muscle.
Musculoskeletal pain can also be caused by overuse. Pain from overuse affects 33% of adults. Lower back pain from overuse is the most common work-related diagnosis in Western society.
Poor posture or prolonged immobilization can also cause musculoskeletal pain.
What are the symptoms of musculoskeletal pain?
Symptoms of musculoskeletal pain depend on whether the pain is caused by an injury or overuse and whether it is chronic or acute. The symptoms can also differ from person to person.
Common symptoms include:
- Localized or widespread pain that can worsen with movement.
- Aching or stiffness of the entire body.
- The feeling that your muscles have been pulled or overworked
- Sleep disturbances
- Twitching muscles
- The sensation of “burning” in your muscles
Treatment consists of reducing the dysfunction in the affected areas, modifying working or sporting environment and reducing the sensitivity of the muscles and nerves.
What are the different types of musculoskeletal pain?
Musculoskeletal pain has varying symptoms and causes. Some of the more common types of pain include
- Muscle pain: This is often less intense than bone pain, but it can still be debilitating. Muscle pain can be caused by an injury, an autoimmune reaction, loss of blood flow to the muscle, infection, or a tumor. The pain can also include muscle spasms and cramps.
- Tendon and ligament pain: Pains in the tendons or ligaments are often caused by injuries, including include sprains. This type of musculoskeletal pain often becomes worse when the affected area is stretched or moved.
- Fibromyalgia: This is a condition that may cause pain in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments. The pain is usually in multiple locations and can be difficult to describe. Fibromyalgia is usually accompanied by other symptoms.
- Joint pain: Joint injuries and diseases usually produce a stiff, aching, “arthritic” pain. The pain may range from mild to severe and worsens when moving the joint. The joints may also swell. Joint inflammation (arthritis) is a common cause of pain.
- “Tunnel” syndromes: This refers to musculoskeletal disorders that cause pain due to nerve compression. The disorders include carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, and tarsal tunnel syndrome. The pain tends to spread along the path supplied by the nerve and may feel like burning. These disorders are often caused by overuse.
Fibro myalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
These two conditions can cause hypersensitivity of the
muscle pain. The focal points of pain are usually found in areas where
there are trigger points located with in the muscles. Adult females are
usually affected but males can also show symptoms. These two problems
can lead to widespread pain that can affect the person’s everyday life.
Myotherapy can help to desensitise these hypersensative sites and allow
the client to move with a lot less pain. Myotherapy will not be able to
fix the problem but we can help the person in managing the reducing the