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Diagnosing Myofascial Pain
The presenting pain complaint in myofascial pain is almost always a referred symptom with a deep, dull aching quality. The referred pain sites in the head and neck include the teeth, sinuses, cheeks, forehead, temple, ear and TMJ. Overlapping pain referral patterns from several different trigger points can mimic certain headache disorders. Familiarity with the typical pain referral patterns enables the clinician to identify possible trigger points. Trigger point palpation is a skill that must be learned and practiced. Diagnosis depends on accurate palpation with 2-4 kg/cm2 of pressure for 6-10 seconds over the suspected trigger point to allow the referred pain pattern to develop. The diagnosis is then confirmed by an immediate pain reduction of greater than 50% after each trigger point is injected by local anesthetic.
Trigger points are classified as being “active” or “latent”, depending on their clinical characteristics. It is considered active when it causes pain at rest. It is tender to palpation with a referred pain pattern similar to the patient’s pain complaint. This referred apin is felt not at the site of the trigger point origin, but remote from it. The pain is often described as spreading or radiating. A latent trigger point does not cause spontaneous pain, but it may restrict movement or cause muscle weakness. Trigger points will vacillate between active and latent states depending on the amount of psychological stress the individual is under and the amount of muscle overload being placed on the affected muscle.
Some Incorrect Attributes to Myofascial Pain
Sometimes, people think that the feeling of pain is caused by common health conditions. However, there are many times when myofascial pain is mistaken for headaches, arthritis, temporomandibular disorders) TMJD, or fibromyalgia.
So how do these illnesses differ from each other and what causes them?
- Headaches. Usually there are many causes of headaches. Although there’s this feeling of pain, most of the causes of these are brought about by the release of some chemicals by the brain.
- Arthritis. Myofascial pain is caused by problems with one’s connecting tissues. On the other hand, problems with joints are the ones that cause arthritis.
- Temporomandibular Disorder (TMJD). TMJD is not at all related to CMP. This pain that is felt near the jaw is caused by a number of things. Too much pressure on the TMJ, dislocation of the soft cushion or the disc between the ball and the socket of the joint, the presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ, and stress can cause this disorder.
- Fibromyalgia, like CMP are flashes of pain with stiffness and localized tenderness in different parts of the body. However, this, like rheumatism, is another rheumatic condition that is caused by a muscular or musculoskeletal pain.
After you have answered those questions, your doctor will be able to fully assess your situation, the pain that you are feeling and determine where it is coming from. Through this, they can better identify if you really are experiencing CMP and they will be able to provide you the answers that you need.
Who Can Identify the Trigger Points?
People have the tendency to self-medicate. Afraid of the high costs of consultation with a doctor, or just don’t have the time to spare, people think that self-medication can help them solve their medical woes. However, to be able to conduct a myofascial pain diagnosis and cure this condition, you need to ask for the help of a specialist for this kind of illness. So if you have been experiencing pain in certain or different parts of your body, do not self-medicate; immediately seek the help of a medical professional. Ask our doctors to get more information about CMP. If you’re in the Los Angeles or Santa Monica area, make an appointment at a Los Angeles pain clinic now.