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Muscle pain What is myofascial syndrome

Muscle pain What is myofascial syndrome

Let’s start with the word “syndrome.” It is almost a synonym for the word “disease.” The only difference is that the symptoms of the disease have both a common development mechanism and a common origin. And the symptoms that make up the syndrome have only a common development mechanism, and their origin is different. It’s easier to understand with an example. All the symptoms of salmonellosis are of a common origin – they are caused by salmonella bacteria. Therefore, salmonellosis is a disease. But the symptoms of myofascial syndrome have a different origin: a violation of neuromuscular conduction, overload, fatigue, stress, metabolic disorders, a “sedentary” lifestyle, bad habits, injuries, etc. Therefore, myofascial syndrome is called a “syndrome.” Muscle pain What is myocardial syndrome.

Now – “myofascial.” This word consists of two words: “myo” – a muscle and “fascia” – the muscle membrane with which each muscle of our body is covered. Muscles and fasciae are inseparable: they work together and get sick together. And they should also be treated together. We’ll immediately agree: for simplicity, we will not say “muscles and fascia,” but simply “muscles.” But, for the sake of justice, nevertheless we will begin with fascia.


Fascia is a muscle membrane that sometimes shortens, similar to how things “sit down” when improperly washed. This happens for various reasons, for example, from a sedentary lifestyle or from injury. As a result of this shortening, the fascial membrane becomes tight, it tightens the muscle – and the muscle, under the influence of this tightness, has to contract itself reflexively. As soon as muscle contraction reaches a certain strength, the muscle automatically clamps the nerve endings, veins and arteries that pass through it. But the most important thing – the clamped muscle can no longer contract normally. Consequently, a pinched muscle will become worse and weaken.

This pathological process is called fascial muscle shortening.. Under the onslaught of this pathology, the body will adapt to the growing pathological changes and hold independent defense as long as there is enough strength. All this time, healthy muscles will take on the load, compensating for all the shortcomings. However, even healthy muscles will not be able to endure overload indefinitely, so they will also begin to weaken and contract. Thus, the pathological process, spreading from one muscle to another, gradually covers the entire muscles of the back and limbs. First, this will change the posture, then overload the spine, leading to the formation of intervertebral hernias and protrusions. And finally, having exhausted the possibility of compensation, the body will give “SOS” signals – the occurrence of pain. This is what myofascial syndrome looks like.

We are used to thinking that pain arises because a person has lifted a weight, “laid back” his neck or bent sharply. But this is not so. These circumstances only translate the disease into an open phase.

Common Mistake for back Pain

Do not confuse treatment and rehabilitation. The difference between the two is enormous. Treatment is the fight against the disease, and rehabilitation is catching up for the time while the person was sick. Replacing the healing process with rehabilitation is a very short-sighted step. After all, recovery exercises are not just physical education. They are called restorative precisely because they should be performed at the last – restorative stage of treatment, after the attenuation of the disease. But in no case in the acute or subacute periods when the disease is at its peak! Otherwise, there is a great danger of tearing off the compensatory forces of the body, which are already at the limit.

Another common misconception is the “reduction” of the vertebrae. An inexperienced patient, who first encountered back pain, most often counts on the fact that he is “quickly corrected” and the case ends. How far he is from the truth! After all, at the time of the appearance of pain between most muscles, the balance was already disturbed. And if you compare the spine and muscles with the mast and ropes, it becomes clear that uneven and asymmetrically stretched ropes can easily warp the mast.

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When examining patients, the asymmetry of many muscles is clearly visible. For example, the left muscle groups pull the right, the front muscles are more intense than the back, and the deep ones are more than the superficial. It is as a result of this that our “mast” is skewed. Therefore, if we restrict ourselves to the “reduction” of the vertebrae without properly relaxing the muscles, then the stretched back muscles will again and again “displace” the vertebrae. Therefore, first of all, it is necessary to return the muscles to their normal state, freeing them from tension. And only then “adjust” the vertebrae and “pump” the muscle corset. But more often than not, after muscle relaxation, the vertebrae themselves “fall into place,” receiving the long-awaited freedom.

Symptoms of myofascial syndrome

It happens that different diseases have similar symptoms, for example, pain. Speaking of myofascial syndrome, we do not forget that there is a disc herniation, osteoporosis and other diseases. After all, it often happens that a person has two or three diseases at the same time, and in different stages. For example, inactive disc hernia and exacerbation of myofascial syndrome. Therefore, it is important to distinguish what is currently worrying the patient. Therefore, in order to truly cure the disease, first of all, it is necessary to recognize it among a pile of active and inactive symptoms.

Symptoms of myofascial syndrome are:

  • trigger points;
  • areas of reflected pain;
  • numerous vegetative disorders.

Now let’s take a look at each of them individually.

Trigger points

Myofascial syndrome originates in the thickness of the muscles with microscopically small muscle spasms. Gradually, the spasm zone reaches a size significant for the microworld. The number of such sites increases, they become denser and become incredibly painful. They are called trigger points – from the English word “trigger”, which in this case means the mechanism that triggers the pain myofascial syndrome.

If you accidentally discovered similar pain points in different parts of the body, then the likelihood of myofascial syndrome is very high. But finally, two other symptoms will help to make sure of this.

Areas of reflected pain

The reflected pain is like a bunny falling on a wall. Although the wall glows, it is clear to any adult that this is just a reflection of the sun. Similarly, the reflected pain is felt far from the place where its true source is hidden. Reflected pain can manifest itself in different ways: both independenMuscle pain What is myofascial syndrome.

It is impossible to catch a solar “bunny” until you cover the mirror. Reflected pain cannot be eliminated if you do not know where its true source is. It is a great success that each trigger point has its own, strictly defined “pattern” of the pain zone – the pain pattern. This correspondence allows the chiropractor to accurately identify the true sources of pain and effectively eliminate them.

Vegetative dysfunction

Vegetative is called all the processes that support both the life of the organism and its work. This includes breathing, nutrition and excretion, sleep and wakefulness, heating the body in the cold and cooling in the heat, and much more. Any violation of these processes is called vegetative dysfunction.

In simple cases of myofascial syndrome, autonomic dysfunction is subtle. It is manifested by swelling of the sore spot, a change in skin color or a violation of sweating. But when myofascial syndrome is expressed strongly or for a long time, then autonomic dysfunction acquires very bright features. There are morning stiffness, dizziness, nausea, sometimes vomiting, stuffy ears, lumps in the throat and anxiety. General weakness, fatigue, irritability, depression, poor mood and tearfulness, insomnia at night and drowsiness during the day, distracted attention and memory loss occur. Frequent disorders of the internal organs: abdominal pain, palpitations, lack of air. Headaches, sensation of compression of the head, trunk, or limbs.

However, all of the listed autonomic disorders, patients associate with anything, but not with the muscles. Therefore, the chiropractor is consulted at the very least, thereby allowing the disease to spread its influence.

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What are the causes of myofascial syndrome?

Weight lifting, hypothermia, negative emotions. What connects all these factors and muscle pain?

Acute muscle overload. As a rule, if back pain arises due to lifting, gravity, awkward movement or injury, then it does not cause questions, its causes are so obvious. There is also chronic muscle overload, and it occurs due to scoliosis, posture disorders or a uniform posture, for example, with a sedentary lifestyle. However, chronic muscle overload, due to its predominant pathological effect on the body, we will discuss separately.

Metabolic disorders. This includes overweight, hormonal deficiency, anemia, low levels of hemoglobin, vitamins, calcium, sodium and iron. In addition, various toxins have a fatal effect on metabolic processes: from viral and microbial (remember muscle aches in the body with a cold) to toxic products of smoking, alcohol or drugs. In general, any intoxication seriously disrupts the nutrition of muscle cells, leads to overstrain and the development of myofascial syndrome.

Another cause of pain is hypothermia

It is the muscles that produce heat in the body. Not without reason, with active movements, a person becomes hot, and freezing, he trembles from the cold. Tremors are extremely intense muscle work in generating heat. Severe hypothermia can cause overload, leading to pathological stress and pain myofascial syndrome.

Emotional disturbances. For this reason, we will focus. Do you know why? Because most people are not aware of the connection between emotions and muscles, and this connection is so significant that it cannot be neglected! And since we are talking about emotional stress, you need to understand that in a big city, even the most conflict-free and healthy lifestyle is associated with mental oppression. Artificial light, street noise, lack of sleep and other factors of the metropolis catastrophically overload the sympathetic system, which serves as a starter for muscular overstrain. Emotional overload is a significant and very significant reason that enhances pathological muscle tension – take this into account when analyzing your pains.

And finally, let’s name the most common, and perhaps the main cause of myofascial syndrome. It is called muscle imbalance.

Muscle imbalance

What is muscle imbalance? The balance between which muscles is disturbed with it? There is an opinion that muscle imbalance is a violation between the so-called opposing antagonist muscles, that is, flexors and extensors, front and back, deep and superficial. But in fact, muscle imbalance is an imbalance between the phase and tonic muscles.

According to their functions, the muscles of our body are divided into two groups. Some perform movement, and are called motor, dynamic, or phase. Others hold a pose, counteracting the gravitational forces of gravity of the earth and the pressure on us of the atmosphere. These muscles are called tonic, postural, or postural. During movement, all muscle groups work. For example, when walking, the motor muscles “go”, and the tonic-postural muscles hold the body upright. Therefore, the workload on both groups is distributed evenly and in balance. When a person is motionless, for example, sits, then only tonic muscles work for him, and motor muscles are inactive.


The life of a modern person is deprived of movement. Today, from childhood, statics and uniform poses prevail. And if we add here posture disorders and scoliosis, which in themselves are static overload, then the scale of the problem becomes obvious. Static uniformity forms the fatigue overstrain of the tonic muscles, which causes them to contract and “stiffen”, while the motor ones, on the contrary, become decrepit from prolonged inactivity.

Sooner or later, muscle imbalance leads to the appearance of local muscle cramps. Having started due to chronic muscle overload. Spasms are aggravated by the influence of the “second stage” causes. The problem is aggravated by the fact that a person cannot feel muscle imbalance, in contrast to trauma, severity or hypothermia. The invisibility of the initial stage of the disease allows it to be deeply rooted and spread its sprouts everywhere.

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