How Do Problems Start?
Bodies are usually self-righting. Pain shows that something is wrong. Often all that means are a few aches and pains following over-exertion or repetitive movements, then the pain goes away and all is well.....or so it seems. Frequently though, the pain returns after a while, or another, seemingly unrelated pain crops up. This process repeats whenever a certain action is carried out and a pattern of compensation begins.
Muscles do not work on their own. They work in groups; not only to move joints, but to stabilise movements and provide protection for the internal organs. Connective tissue, also known as myofascia, envelopes and permeates every muscle, organ and space in the body, like a soft, gel like web.
Through injury or overuse, muscles lose their ability to relax after they have contracted. Pain causing, acidic chemical waste products from the contraction are left behind and hypersensitive 'trigger points' are formed at the contraction site inside the muscle. These shorten muscles, increase tension and cause pain to radiate within the muscle, its casings and attachments. Blood flow is interrupted and lymphatic drainage reduces.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
When blood flow and lymphatic drainage are not balanced, toxins cannot be drained away effectively from muscles and pain signals are generated from the local inflammation. Sometimes nerves are trapped. Connective tissues are stressed a
nd dehydrate, leading to tightening and hardening of the surrounding area. This causes a far reaching domino effect of radiating and referred pain all over the body, as the brain struggles to compensate for the ever-increasing postural changes.
Often the root of the pain is not where it appears to be. Trigger points refer pain to various other parts of the body via the myofascia. For example some headaches, chest and hand pain originate in the muscles of the neck. Referred pain can mimic many conditions including headaches, angina and carpal tunnel syndrome.
So, by the time a repeating, niggling pain becomes enough of a problem to seek help for, the body has compensated, tightened, loosened, eased and given, until every minor adjustment the body attempts to right itself, now disturbs and strains tissues that have already been altered before. This process, known as 'decompensation,' happens within your nervous system, muscles and connective tissue.
Why the Doctor Can't Really Help
Pain is treated with pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications but if the trigger points are not addressed, the inflammation will persist and the medications will only mask the pain, not treat the root cause. Pain that lasts longer than a week or two can be debilitating. It often interrupts sleep. This can lead to spiralling effects of fatigue, low mood and inability to function. If sleep patterns do not return to normal very soon, resistance to illness is depleted and pain signals are magnified. The body becomes tolerant to pain medications and the inflammatory processes within the muscles remain in place. Trigger points and this type of decompensation cannot be seen on X-rays, CT scans or MRI scans, so overworked GPs seem powerless to help.