Muscle pain often causes more discomfort than, and may be confused with, many other types of pain. We know that muscle pain, or myofascial pain, is present in up to 85% of other pain conditions. Muscles may be painful from overuse, from guarding nearby joints which are painful, or from nerve injury.
To treat muscle pain, we must first determine the cause, otherwise any treatment will be temporary. Many people find massage helpful, for example, but its effects are not long-lasting because the cause of the problem is not addressed. Often muscles become painful because they are called upon constantly by some source of irritation, and this constant activation leads to fatigue, overuse, strain, and pain. Once the primary source of pain is addressed, muscle pain usually resolves on its own.
When muscle is the primary source of pain, the following treatments may be helpful:
- Aerobic exercise – this increases blood flow to the muscle, warms it and allows it to stretch and heal.
- Manual therapy – whether massage or myofascial release, this also increases blood flow to the injured tissue and helps release taut bands, promoting healing
- Trigger point injections – when the muscle causes pain felt in other places, this is best treated with an acupuncture-like injection using local anesthetic
- Medications – some muscle relaxers can be helpful to reduce overactive muscles, anti-inflammatories reduce pain, and topical medications may also be helpful
- Stretching – this is a life-long daily treatment to keep muscles flexible and reduce injury
At Manhattan Pain Medicine, we provide a thorough evaluation of your pain and recommend the best treatment options for you.