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Myofascial Pain Syndrome Attorneys in Illinois
Myofascial Pain Syndrome is a more sophisticated way of describing chronic muscle pain. Persons suffering from Myofascial Pain Syndrome experience chronic pain in a localized or general area of the body. The fascia, which is the outer covering of the muscle, is chronically affected in persons with Myofascial Pain Syndrome. In most cases, the muscle pain can be felt in areas of the body not associated with the original site of injury or muscle strain. In this type of situation, the original site of injury or strain is known as a trigger point. Pain that travels down nerve pathways and is experienced beyond the trigger point is called referred pain.
What are the Causes of Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
Generally, Myofascial Pain Syndrome is caused by excessive muscle strain, or injury to a particular muscle, or to a generalized muscle area. Ligaments (connect bone to bone) and tendons (connect muscle to bone) that are injured can similarly cause Myofascial Pain Syndrome. Trigger points in the muscle are a hallmark of the syndrome. Trigger points are located in a taut band of skeletal muscle and are pinpointed spots that are hypersensitive. The points are painful when pressure is applied and generally produce referred pain (away from the area of applied pressure), referred tenderness, weakness, and can adversely affect muscle coordination. A person can develop a trigger point in a multitude of ways including back injury such as one caused to an intervertebral disk, excessive or repetitive movement, excessive immobility of a muscle or group of muscles such as when an arm is in a sling, heart attack, and even gastric (stomach) upset. Prolonged poor posture, sports injuries, such as tennis elbow and golf shoulder, and repetitive or acute work injuries can cause tension and stress in muscles that can lead to trigger points and, subsequently, myofascial pain syndrome. Lack of sleep, infrequent exercise, and vitamin deficiencies are other potential causes of trigger points.
Work Related Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Work related Myofascial Pain Syndrome can occur in a number of situations. Predisposition to developing a trigger point may be caused from repetitive behavior, for example, prolonged bending over a desk or work area, holding a telephone receiver between the ear and shoulder for prolonged periods of time, sitting in a chair with poor back support or arm rests that are not calibrated to a proper height, repetitive lifting, especially lifting that uses a selected muscle group such as the biceps, and moving items by using improper body mechanics.
A sudden strain to a muscle can cause trigger points and Myofascial Pain Syndrome as well. A slip and fall for instance can cause certain muscles, ligaments, or tendons to hyperextend in the leg, arm or back. Blunt trauma such as a blow to the back, thigh, arm or leg may also cause a trigger point to develop and produce myofascial pain symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
Symptoms of Myofascial Pain Syndrome involve localized pain that radiates away from a trigger point, which produces referred pain in many circumstances. Pain can be a deep, aching pain, or persistent pain. Muscle stiffness and tight knots in the muscle can also be felt. Excessive movement that utilizes the group of muscles may cause pain, weakness, and tenderness. Chronic muscle stress can also produce pain. In addition, localized pain and regional pain may be accompanied by mental disorders such as depression. A person may also feel generally fatigued.
Trigger points generally produce persistent pain that may or may not be associated with movement. Usually the affected muscle’s range of motion is compromised. As stated, trigger points produce referred pain. For example, if a trigger point is located in the muscles of the head or neck, Myofascial Pain Syndrome can appear as a headache, cause eye pain or pain in the jaw. Trigger points in the lower extremities such as in the thigh or calf can produce pain and adversely affect, for example, ankle movement. Trigger points in the buttocks often produce pain in the lower back.
Diagnosis of Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Myofascial Pain Syndrome can be difficult to diagnose. A physician experienced in the syndrome and who has an understanding of precise anatomical structures will be highly beneficial for diagnosis. A physician will take a thorough medical history to reveal any potential and apparent underlying causes. A physician will generally palpate and apply pressure to an area of the body were localized or generalized pain is described by the patient. This pressure will often produce a twitching phenomenon in the muscle. This area is called the trigger point. Trigger points are of utmost importance in diagnosing Myofascial Pain Syndrome. Trigger points are also distinguishable from generally tender or sore muscles in that trigger points produce referred pain in other parts of the body. There are four types of trigger points that can be distinguished, but active and latent trigger points are most common.
First, an active trigger point is an area of the body, usually skeletal muscle, that is extremely sore. It is painful even at rest. An active trigger point actively refers pain locally or to another area of the body. Second, a latent trigger point is a point usually in skeletal muscle that is not active, but may become active when pressure is applied or when a muscle is strained. A latent trigger point in some cases does not cause pain, but muscle weakness can occur. Only when pressure or strain is applied, may a person become aware of localized or referred pain.
Treatment of Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Usually, treatment initially involves eliminating overuse of the muscle and factors that cause injury to the muscle. Further treatment may involve injections into the trigger point with a local anesthetic, saline solution, or corticosteroid. Drugs may also be prescribed, such as muscle relaxers, opiates, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Motrin, Advil). If depression or other mental disturbance occurs, anti-depressants or other psych medications may be prescribed. Massage therapy is also frequently utilized. Another technique that is commonly used to relieve trigger points is called "Spray and Stretch". This involves spraying the outer skin with a chemical coolant and passively stretching the muscle. If one particular treatment does not produce results, a combination of the above may be used.
If your Myofascial Pain Syndrome is work related, your attorney should work on a contingency basis. This means that you will not pay any attorney's fees unless you obtain a recovery. Also, your attorney should advance all of the associated costs of the litigation. You should not be paying anything out of pocket. If you win, all fees, costs and expenses will come from the recovery amount.
Choosing an Attorney
We know numerous attorneys throughout the state who have great experience with workers compensation cases. This is why people come to us. If you have acquired Myofascial Pain Syndrome, any attorney that we recommend will have handled hundreds of repetitive injury cases and workers’ compensation cases in the past. This doesn’t guarantee a result, but does give you the best chance for a successful result.
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