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Everything You Wanted to Know About Musculoskeletal Pain

Posted by Ann V. On 2016 Sep 9th

Everything You Wanted to Know About Musculoskeletal Pain

What is musculoskeletal pain? How it occurs? What causes it? How the pain is treated? Learn here important things about musculoskeletal pain.

Musculoskeletal pain is referred to the pain occurring in the bones, muscles, tendons, nerves and ligaments. Some common examples of musculoskeletal pain are lower back pain, joint inflammation, stress fractures, and fibromyalgia. It can be acute or chronic. The pain can occur in one or more areas. You can get musculoskeletal pain while doing routine activities like lifting, playing, and running.

According to one report, nearly 126.6 million Americans are affected by a musculoskeletal condition, meaning that one in two adults experience this condition. And it costs an estimated $213 billion in annual treatment, care and lost wages.

What are the Causes of Musculoskeletal Pain?

Musculoskeletal is a common in all people, regardless of age. The pain is triggered by the “shock” or injury to the bones, joints, tendons, nerves or muscles. Such common causes are jerking movements, accidents, falls, sprains, poor postures and prolonged immobilization fractures, dislocations and direct blows to the muscles. Excessive use of the particular muscles also leads to the pain in muscles and bones.

What are the Signs of Musculoskeletal Pain?

Signs of the pain vary based on the causes like injury, excessive use and nature of the pain. The signs are also different from person to person, but in general, they include:

  • Pain tends to aggravate with movement
  • Experiencing stiffness or aching
  • Experience that your muscles have been pulled or overworked
  • Tiredness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Feeling burning sensation in muscles

In case of such signs, you should visit your physician for a thorough examination.

What are the Types of Musculoskeletal Pain?

Musculoskeletal pain is categorized into various types given below.

  • Bone Pain:

Bone pain is mostly caused by injury and is deep, dull and penetrating in nature. It may be an indication of a fracture or tumor.

  • Muscle Pain:

Despite being less intense than bone pain, muscle pain is sometime intolerable. It is resulted from an injury, loss of blood flow to the muscle, infection, tumor or an autoimmune reaction. The pain is also associated with cramps and muscle spasms.

  • Tendon and Ligament Pain:

You are likely to get discomfort in your tendons and ligaments due to injuries and sprains. Even worse, it tends to become worsen with the slight mobility of the affected part.

  • Fibromyalgia:

This condition triggers pain in the tendons, muscles and ligaments. Unfortunately, the pain occurs in multiple locations and sometime is difficult to describe. It is also coupled with other signs.

  • Joint Pain:

Joint injures and diseases like arthritis lead to stiff pain. The pain can be mild to severe and aggravates with the mobility of the affected joints. Then, you may experience swelling.

  • Tunnel Syndromes:

It is associated with the disorders triggering pain due to nerve compression such as carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome and tarsal tunnel syndrome. The pain is likely to travel along the path supplied by the nerve and may cause sensation of burning. Such disorders are resulted by the excessive use of the muscles.

Diagnosing of Musculoskeletal Painby a Doctor:

First of all, a physician checks your medical history to figure out the possible causes of the pain. You will also be asked if the pain is acute or ongoing. Afterwards, a doctor conducts testto locate the source of the pain palpating the affected area. He or she also goes for X-rays and lab tests to determine the underlying cause of the pain. These tests include…

  • Blood tests
  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • MRIs

On the basis of your tests, your doctor will prepare a course of action to treat your condition.

Treatment of Musculoskeletal Pain:

Generally, the treatment aims to treat the cause of the pain. It may be determined by the affected part which may be bone, ligament, tendon, muscle or joint.

Common Treatment Plan for Musculoskeletal Pain Includes:

  • NSAIDs

NSAIDs or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are basic pain relievers available as OTC medications like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. They not only lower pain, but also minimize inflammation, fevers and prevent blood from clotting.

  • Topical Analgesics:

Another common way to minimize musculoskeletal pain is the use of topical analgesics like creams, lotions, gels and ointment. They are rubbed directly into the skin at the affected area. They often deliver “coolness” to the affected area to distract the brain from the source of pain. One of the unorthodox yet effective options to ease the pain is a numbing cream. It is a topical anesthetic that dulls the nerve endings so that you don’t feel anything.

  • Physical and Occupational Therapy:

These therapies involve practicing of certain body movements that restore your range of motion, strengthen your body and prepare that part for the activities that are otherwise difficult with musculoskeletal pain.

  • Heat and Cold Compress:

Heat and cold compresses provide relaxation to the stiff and aching muscles and joints. Cold compress numbs the feelings of pain while heat compress relaxes joints and muscles. You can also take hot or cold water bath to manage the pain when it arises.

  • Chiropractic Care:

It is a hands-on therapy that is based on the spinal manipulation. A practitioner or chiropractor applies force to the joints of the spine that have become restricted in their movement due to injury or damage.

Strengthening and Stretching:

Stretching workouts are useful to keep your muscles long and flexible to release the tension and soreness. In addition, strength training prepares your muscles to tolerate aches, strains and pains, thereby minimising the risk of muscle injury.

  • Massage:

It is a popular way to relax the muscles. The therapist uses the techniques like pressing and rubbing of the muscles and soft tissues of the body.

So you must have understood the causes, signs and treatment of musculoskeletal pain. You must see your physician if your muscle pain is lasted for more days or there is no relief with pain reliving gels or OTC medications.