Myofascial Pain in Athletes Follow-up

Updated: Oct 07, 2015
  • Author: Auri Bruno-Petrina, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Follow-up

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The athlete should avoid strenuous activity during sports, and they should always use stretching techniques prior to competitions or practice.

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Complications

The single muscle MPSs usually are acute and follow an episode of muscle overload. In some cases, the pain persists and spreads to other, usually synergistic, muscles. This is referred to as a chronic regional myofascial syndrome.

Many perpetuating factors encourage transformation to a more widespread muscle pain problem. Mechanical factors include postural stress, muscle imbalances, and skeletal asymmetries. These can put additional stress on surrounding muscles, leading to spread of dysfunction and pain. Systemic perpetuating factors purportedly include anything jeopardizing the energy supply to muscle (ie, anemia, endocrine imbalances, low thyroid function, vitamin deficiencies).

Chronic regional myofascial syndromes are conceptually close to the malignant, metastasizing fibromyalgia referred to by Bennett.

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Prevention

Patients should avoid the mechanical and systemic factors mentioned in Complications.

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Education

The ultimate goal is to educate patients and (1) to provide them with the means to manage their own muscle pain disorder, (2) to eliminate their dependence on healthcare providers, (3) to eliminate contributing factors, providing prolonged stretch of the affected muscle, and aerobic exercises. [5]

On performing a task, the patient must learn to keep the muscles mobilized, and not held fixed in a contracted position. Muscle fibers need to alternately contract and relax to provide blood flow and replenish their energy supply.

For excellent patient education resources, see eMedicineHealth's patient education article Chronic Pain.

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