Is there anyone out there who has been diagnosed with chronic myofascial pain? I am seeking more information about this problem and need encouragement as well as peace of mind that there is not something else wrong with me.
I suspect this is what I have going on, but still have to rule out other causes. I've had two MRI's and X-rays, I go this week for a CT scan. Could you tell us where your pain is and a bit more about how it started? For me it all started with having rotator cuff surgery to have a bone spur removed and the pain is now in my ribs.
Well, let's see. About a year and a half ago I started having this pain in my back. It was left side, between my shoulder blade and spine. It got worse and worse and spread to a larger area in my back and left arm. When I finally went to see my primary doctor, I broke down and cried because I had been in pain every day and had been trying to deal with it for months. He was caring and concerned.
I have had every test known to man - multiple times. First they wanted to rule out heart problems so I have had 3 or 4 EKG's, 4 MRI's, 2 CT scans,
too many to count blood tests and x-rays, EMG nerve testing, 5 ultrasounds, ... been to rheumatologists, neurologist, physiatrists, physical therapy... etc etc.
The pain has been so severe at times that I was given morphine at one point. One doctor tried to say it was FMS, but I could not accept it because my pain was confined to that left back side. It began to "refer" around to my chest and down my left arm. I actually thought I had breast cancer at one time because my left nipple swelled out on one side and began to hurt. I went to a breast specialist. Nothing found....
My primary doctor has not "diagnosed" anything because he is very careful about giving a name until he is certain, but he has stuck with me through this whole year and a half ordeal. He has told me that he was "leaning toward myofascial pain," and he has sent me to a PTherapist that does myotherapy. I had my third treatment yesterday. This myotherapy that he does borders on torture. I am black and blue. He told me I would scream and cry - and I did and do when I go in.
However, this morning (third treatment was yesterday) I woke up sore and bruised like always but the horrible pain in my back is not there.... at least not so far today.
I am trying to figure out if this in fact could be myofascial pain. I am praying that it is because I have been led to believe that myofascial problems can be repaired or improved. I have spent over a year thinking I was dying of some horrible illness. Maybe I am, but I am trying to hang to any hope I can.
Can you share any thing about myofascial pain and its treatment? I am not sure what caused this for me, but I am trying to learn as much as I can to keep this from ever happening again.
I appreciate any advice or information. And, thank you very much for responding!
Please be careful about the massage, it should not leave you bruised. If it is the PT is going way too deep. Usually massage for myofascial does not go deep - it has to be started very gently. I think myofascial is usually diagnosed by ruling out other causes. For me I know I have swelling, triggerpoints that refer pain, and severe muscle spasms if I don't take muscle relaxers. I hope they figure out what is causing yours. I'm pretty sure that mine was caused by having my arm immobilized before and after the rotator cuff surgery.
I understand what you are saying about the PT. This is one of the reasons I am so confused. There is a part of my common sense that says this is way to rough - this myotherapy thing. However, then I research and read and talk to other doctors and they tell me that this has to happen to break apart the "stuck" myofascia. The PT told me on Saturday that my problems with my fascia go deep, and he told me that he is going deeper. It hurts horribly when he is working. I guess I feel like I am at a point where I do not know what else to do. My common sense (and my pain tolerance) are saying, "This is too much! Stop doing it!" The doctors are saying, "Are you willing to live the rest of your life with the pain you've experienced for the past 18 months?" The answer is no, I do not want to continue living with this. And, it seems to be working.... I think I am about half-way done. According to the timeline for this particular type of myotherapy, I am about half-way finished.
It is pretty violent. My husband goes with me each time. He told me that he breaks out in a drenching sweat just watching it. This myotherapy is based on a PhD Japanese invention. It uses a power tool, not hands. It is not fun.
I just pray every week for the strength to keep going back. And I keep asking for advice from people like you, hoping I will be able to make sense of it all. I have an appointment with my primary doctor this afternoon. I will talk with him again.
I will keep you posted. Thank you for taking the time to advise me.
Tigg is absolutely right. The myo release therapy should not be so harsh. I know there are some school's of thought out there that believe it has to be a "no pain, no gain" approach, but it doesn't have to be that way. I think some of these therapists think they are going to "cure" CMP by using these aggressive methods, but the truth is, that there is no permenant cure or fix for CMP. Even when the fascia is loosened up in one area, there will always be a new area that pops up. It's just the nature of the disease.
The LMT who does my myo release, always starts out very slowly and methodically. She then builds up the pressure and intensity gradually. It may take longer, but it also lasts longer and is far less painful. She told me about this "power tool" that some use and she believes it can actually cause more harm than good. My doc is pretty much an expert in CMP and he told me years ago that one of the causes of my CMP was a severe bruising injury that caused me to "bleed out" into the muscle and fascia. It pretty much destroyed the muscle, tissue and fascia in that area of my body.
I certainly can't tell you what to do or not to do. It is your body and your decision. But if it were me, I would not allow anyone to do any therapy on me that caused any level of bruising. And I know my doc would agree. If you can do a little research into some Liscensed Massage Therapists (LMT), who have extensive training in myo release, I would highly recommend it. I think this person you are going to right now, and the excessive approach they are taking, could be doing more harm than good. The slower, gentler approach can do wonders. Take care and I hope this was helpful, CMP/MM
I am finally back again. It has been a busy week for me.
Thank you for your post. I appreciate so much your thoughts and the knowledge you have gained through this painful disorder.
As you suggested, I have spent hours researching therapies for myofascial pain. I have spoken with several therapists here who specialize in deep tissue, myofascial therapy. What I have found is that this is a field that appears to be largely uncontrolled, unregulated, and unsupervised. That is part of my confusion about what is the best treatment. I understand that many of these therapists use manual (hands) only, and some use hand tools, but they all believe that their way is the "best" way.
This therapist that I am going to is a Medical Board Certified therapist. Not a "school or training facility that trains individuals in massage therapy," but one that is physician board certified. My insurance company is paying 100% of this treatment, and my primary physician referred me to this guy. So, part of me is thinking it must be okay.
What I have found out this week is that as far as I know, this doctor is the only U.S. doctor to be trained and certified in this particular treatment method. It is tough, going through this. However, I have found in my research that this treatment cures the disorder rather than bring temporary short-term comfort. And, I have actually reached the point in the treatment where I have been able to enjoy totally pain-free days. I am not finished with treatment yet, but I can say that it has changed my life at this point. I still worry about it, but I am going to try to complete this therapy. At that time, I will try to report back and tell you how I am doing.
Thank you for your kind support and words of encouragement. I appreciate the support I have found on this site. I hope to be able to share continued good reports with you soon!
Bee, I have read your post & thought I would chime in. I have much of the same, left side, shoulder/arm, back chest, upper & lower into the ribs, the back & neck have just started to get really painful & I have been told by my surgeon after shoulder surgery that in his opinion it is myofascial damage. As of the last appointment with my PM he is beginning to think along the same lines. Like you I have been through test after test & just had another MRI & have yet to get the results. The pain it out of this world & I feel for you.
I can say that as painful as your therapy sounds if I thought it would help me I would do it today. Please keep us informed on how this goes. I along with tig & cmp would be happy to share anything with you in regards to myself.
At the present I am feeling constant pressure, alot of throbbing & just extreme pain in most of the areas I listed above.
I have noticed & more people with myofascial problems just recently. Hopefully that is a good thing & the medical field will give this terrable dx some recognition. I am really curious to see how this goes with you & if it does indeed work for you I will start investigating it.
Is there a particulair name for this therpay other then Myofascial release?
Good luck & please keep us posted. God bless, Sammy
I have been diagnosed with myofascial pain as secondary to cervical and thoracic disc degeneration and nerve irritation.
Yes, if this is truly what it is, the pain is horrific.
I've tried acupuncture ang gentle myofascial release (15-20 sessions that didn't last.)
Rigelbee . . . . . my pain is also left shoulder blade area, ribs and neck.
Do you do a lot of sitting and computer work?
I now keep a pressure pointer device near my desk and start kneading the areas that flair as I work. I'm sure I look like a dork but you gotta do what you gotta do and I'm far past the point of caring what other people think.
I've recently decided to go to pain mangement and am beginning to add a LA opiate regime to my treatment. I gave up on being macho about it.
You're not alone. Hang in there and try anything you can within financial reason. Next week I'll also be seeing someone to give bio-feedback a try. One thing I'd warn against though is chiropractic. This was my first choice when the pain started and I think all the adjustments caused more damage in the long run.
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."