Myalgia is a general term for muscle pain. Since nearly every part of your body has muscles or provides attachments for muscles, this can result in pain from a variety of locations. The most common cause of myalgia is overuse of muscles and viral infections. Less common but more problematic causes would include fibromyalgia and polymyalgia.
Muscle Anatomy: For a true understanding of muscle pain, it helps to understand the anatomy of a muscle. The basic design of a typical muscle is a spindle shape with a “belly” in the middle and tendons on each end. The belly is where most of the contraction takes place and as we approach the ends there is increasing amounts of fibrous tissue for strength. On a microscopic level the muscle tissue is a ratcheting mechanism of actin and myosin filaments.
Common Myalgia: Most commonly people become sore after overexerting themselves for a prolonged period of time. What happens is that the muscle breaks down glucose into lactic acid (a waste product). This is what produces the energy necessary for muscles to work. Over a period of exertion, the lactic acid builds up and after you are done exercising it has accumulated. Endorphins (natural pain killers) produced during your work-out will wear off and then the pain starts. Viruses like the flu also cause muscle aches all over the body.
Both Polymyalgia and Fibromyalgia: If several days goes by and the muscle pain does not subside on it’s own, you might suspect less common but more serious chronic inflammatory conditions such as polymyalgia or fibromyalgia. Both of these conditions cause pain in the neck, shoulders, arms and hips. Both seem to be affected by genetic factors.
Chiropractic manipulation and gentle aerobic exercises help to alleviate the symptoms and improve overall health. A healthy diet low in fat or sugar but rich in whole grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables will help to build up your body’s resistance to effects of these conditions.
Polymyalgia: Polymyalgia affects mostly older people and more often women. The condition appears to be related to viral infections. Testing for Polymyalgia may include blood tests or imaging studies such as MRI or Ultrasound. Treatment for polymyalgia generally involves prednisone. If the condition responds, it also helps diagnose the condition.
Fibromyalgia: In addition to pain in the neck, shoulders and arms, fibromyalgia causes fatigue, loss of memory and symptoms of insomnia. The condition happens more in people with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid. Physical or emotional trauma can be a trigger as well. There is no direct test for fibromyalgia, but if a doctor presses on 18 points in the body and 11 or more are sensitive, the condition is assumed to be present. Treatment involves anti-inflammatory and antidepressant medications.
Contact Us: If you have any questions regarding this blog don’t hesitate to contact Dr. George Bennett DC, 2193 Riverton Rd., Cinnaminson – 08077. Our contact information can be found right here in our website – drgeorgebennettdc.com under the heading “Contact”. Call us or write us and come back often as we will regularly try to update our blog. Thanks for visiting and see you soon.