Prolotherapy for Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Ross Hauser, MD
Fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome are often diagnosed in the same patient. Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a common painful muscle disorder caused by taut bands or trigger points in the muscles. Myofascial trigger points are tender areas in muscles causing local and referred muscle pain. Trigger points may cause the tight muscles and tight muscles may cause trigger points.
Myofascial trigger points are tender areas in muscles causing local and referred muscle pain. Trigger points may cause the tight muscles and tight muscles may cause trigger points. Fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome are often diagnosed in the same patient. Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a common painful muscle disorder caused by taut bands or trigger points in the muscles. Myofascial trigger points are tender areas in muscles causing local and referred muscle pain. Trigger points may cause the tight muscles and tight muscles may cause trigger points. Between 85-93% of musculoskeletal pain sufferers exhibit trigger points. Interestingly enough, about 50% of us have latent trigger points just waiting to be activated! When studies are done on asymptomatic people, about 50% of them have these trigger points that refer pain when palpated and are just primed to start causing pain! This high percentage of latent trigger points in asymptomatic people explains why some people who sustain small “fender-bender” collisions end up with severe, significant, non-healing pain. This also explains why small “fenderbender” type accidents can lead to unrelenting pain syndromes.
How does myofascial pain syndrome develop?
A common cause of pain, as in myofascial pain syndrome, as well as many other clinical syndromes, is rooted in muscle spasm. Muscles commonly contract to stabilize a joint when a ligament is lax or weakened. As a result, muscle spasm may cause ischemia, which is a decreased flow of blood and poor oxygen to tissues. This can stimulate pain receptors that are sensitive to chemicals. The blood vessels are compressed and blood flow is decreased with a muscle spasm, accompanied by a concurrent increase in the rate of metabolism in the muscle tissue. Trigger points can be caused by a number of factors, including sudden trauma, fatigue, repetitive motions and over-activity, nutritional deficiencies and nervous tension or stress. The most common cause, however, is chronic ligament laxity.
What are the symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome?
Trigger points are usually classified as active or latent. Active triggers are constantly painful while latent ones are “silent” until examined. A local twitch response is created by both forms when examined medically and usually brings a loss of range of motion, weakness and decreased flexibility of the muscle to actively and passively stretch. Sometimes trigger points can set off secondary trigger points due to the increased stress on the affected groups of muscle.
The Response of Modern Medicine
Since myofascial pain syndrome is caused by taut bands or trigger points in the muscles, treatments have included traditional physical therapy such as massage, ultrasound and stretching. Although these treatments provide relief, the results often diminish on the patient’s way home. The problem is that these efforts do nothing to strengthen the weakened ligaments and, thus, do not alleviate the chronic pain that people with this condition experience.
Another standard practice of modern medicine is to give various kinds of injections in the affected areas. Again, although the patient receives pain relief, it returns all too soon. And some of these treatments may, in the long run, do more damage than good. For example, cortisone shots and anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to produce short-term pain benefit, but both result in long-term loss of function and even more chronic pain by actually inhibiting the healing process of soft tissues and accelerating cartilage degeneration. Plus, long-term use of these drugs can lead to other sources of chronic pain , allergies and leaky gut syndrome.
The Regenerative Medicine approach to Myofascial Pain Syndrome: Prolotherapy
A better way to treat myofascial pain syndrome is to trigger the growth of new ligament tissue with Prolotherapy. The strengthened ligament holds the joint in place, the muscle relaxes and the trigger point, as well as the pain, subsides. Prolotherapy is the safest and most effective natural medicine treatment for repairing tendon, ligament and cartilage damage. Prolotherapy stimulates the body to repair painful areas by inducing a mild inflammatory reaction in the weakened ligaments and cartilage. The inflammation causes the blood supply to dramatically increase in the ligament, alerting the body that healing needs to take place. In the simplest terms, Prolotherapy stimulates healing.
Prolotherapy offers the most curative results in treating chronic pain. It effectively eliminates pain because it attacks the source: the fibro-osseous junction, an area rich in sensory nerves. What’s more, the tissue strengthening and pain relief stimulated by Prolotherapy is permanent!