Myofascial pain syndrome treatment
Treating myofascial pain syndrome usually includes physical therapy, medications, or injections of the trigger points. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support the benefit of using one particular form of treatment. Therefore, the patient may need more than one treatment for myofascial pain syndrome.
Myofascial pain syndrome medications
Medications used in the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome may include:
- Pain medication: Over-the-counter medication like naproxen sodium (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil, and others) may be helpful. Sometimes doctors prescribe pain relievers that are stronger to use for limited amounts of time. Some medications are used topically and are applied as patches to the skin.
- Antidepressants: Many kinds of antidepressants are used to treat pain. Some people who have myofascial pain syndrome may benefit from amitriptyline. This medication also helps people to sleep.
- Sedatives: Clonazepam (Klonopin) can help relax tense muscles that are affected by myofascial pain syndrome. This drug can cause sleepiness and be habit-forming, so it must be used with caution.
Myofascial pain syndrome therapy
Physical therapy is used to relieve the pain of myofascial pain syndrome based on the signs and symptoms the disorder causes. Therapies used may involve:
- Stretching: Your physical therapist may teach you gentle stretches and exercises to help reduce the pain in muscles affected by myofascial pain syndrome. If pain increases with stretching, the person may apply a numbing solution or spray to the skin to help calm the pain.
- Posture training: This is especially helpful for the neck area. Improving the posture can help myofascial pain by strengthening the muscles around the trigger point. It helps to avoid overstressing any one particular muscle.
- Massage: Massage of the affected muscle may be used to relieve myofascial pain syndrome. The physical therapist might massage using long strokes along the muscle or place pressure on specific muscle areas to relieve tension.
- Heat: Using a hot shower or hot pack can relieve pain and reduce tension in the muscles caused by myofascial pain syndrome.
- Ultrasound: In this therapy, sound waves increase warmth and blood flow to the muscles. It may promote muscle healing.
Steroid or numbing medication injected into a trigger point may help reduce the symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome. Sometimes, just inserting the needle in the trigger point of the muscle helps relieve muscle tension. It is called dry needling, and it involves inserting the needle into different areas around and in a trigger point. Acupuncture may also benefit myofascial pain syndrome in some people.
People who have myofascial syndrome need to take good care of themselves. It may be easier to control your pain if your body is healthy. As much as you can, try to:
- Exercise: Gentle forms of exercise can help you deal with stress and cope with pain. As much as your pain will allow, try to keep moving. Ask your physician or your physical therapist what exercises are appropriate for you.
- Relax: When you’re tense or stressed, your pain may increase, so try to find ways you can relax. Writing in a journal, talking with your friends, or meditation can be helpful ways of relaxing when you have myofascial pain syndrome.
- Take good care of your body: Make sure your daily diet includes vegetables and fruit. Drink plenty of water and try to get adequate amounts of sleep. Taking care of your body will allow you to direct your energy more effectively dealing with your myofascial pain syndrome symptoms.
Living with a chronic condition such as myofascial pain syndrome can be overwhelming. Sometimes treatments are not 100% successful. You may want to talk to a counselor to help you cope with your frustrations and challenges. Support groups may also be helpful. These can help by connecting you with others who are facing similar circumstances.