pain spasm pain cycle

Muscle Pain

Commonly, when muscular pain is mentioned, a person considers their pain to be a non serious. However muscle pain can be intense, constant, long lasting, and reoccurring yet out of proportion with tissue damage.

One component of muscular injury is a change in blood availability. A reduction of blood down to over 20% of normal flow to muscles can give rise to pain. Below 20% reduced blood flow training is a separate phenomenon to the reservoir idea to myofascial pain.

Mechanisms of Myofascial Pain(1) sometimes referred to as trigger points but they are not strictly the same. If your muscles feel sore then that is muscular pain. A tender spot within a muscle can be considered against the criteria of a trigger point. Even though the foundational trigger point manual has been published for decades some experts in the field of musculoskeletal (MSK) medicine are of the opinion that trigger points do not exist. If I find a prominent point that triggers pain then I’ll call it a trigger point, pain may refer elsewhere in the body. Finding the actual points that fit the published patterns is rare. However the original research into pain from muscles asked people where they considered the centre of their pain to be. This constitutes a dot on the charts where dots agree then it looks at first glance like the dots have joined where the pain ‘should be’ and as the dots spread out that’s where referral of the pain ‘should happen’. Understanding how the charts where produced enables the first glance opinion to not trip you up. A quick Google and you’ll see the images of where muscles can refer their pain.

When looking to help yourself with muscular pain medication approaches of paracetamol, ibuprofen, codeine, capsaicin might help you cover over a pain experience. A Chiropractor may be able to offer a muscle a way of being sensed better by your brain (CNS). Enabling your brain to feel what to do for your better health rather than you being made to get used to it. Allowing your muscles to ‘centrate’ around your joints is AKA Muscular Balance.

If you believe you have muscular pain and it has lasted more than 3 days then consulting with a Chiropractor may be just what your body would order for itself. Chiropractors provide sensory interventions for your brain and muscles to sense each other. Symptoms can resolve before muscles are repaired which is why a chiropractor will test the function of your muscles as well as ask you about your pain experience. The do nothing approach can only reveal the incomplete repair of your muscles through future reoccurrences. muscles work in pairs or larger groups to co-ordinate joint centration, a balance that keeps muscles and joints functioning and self repairing. Unfortunately muscle and joint sense is not a static fix it and leave it phenomenon. Our sensory ability waxes and wanes. Doing nothing the so called natural way to ‘heal’ facilitates your ability to get used to a lack of muscle and joint co-ordination. Symptoms will die away anyway once we are used to it and have reached a new normal.

The question to ask yourself is when my muscle pain symptoms ‘settle down’ have I gotten used to it or have I healed it? The phenomenon is called ‘accommodation’ and can occur when pathology is present (1-2% of cases) or not. Both clinician and patient can be buoyed by the improvement in symptoms yet an underlying red flag may continue to progress. The beauty of having regular Chiropractic Care is that your Chiropractor can keep an eye on you through the physical functioning of your muscles and joints. Reoccurrences of muscular and joint pain experiences are 98-99% non pathologic. However the trend in MSK medicine is to safety net or to keep an eye on your progress.

If you stay in a bad smell and it seems to go away it is a change in sensory acuity (a downregulation of your smell ability)? If you live with muscle and joint dysfunction and it seems to go away it is a change in sensory acuity (a lower level of muscle and joint functioning). Symptoms, whether a bad smell or a sore muscle, may seem to resolve because no change is presently being sensed.

References:

(1) Saleet-Jafri, M (2014). Mechanisms of Myofascial Pain, A Review Article. doi: 10.1155/2014/523924

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