Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic painful condition. Treatment is required to improve symptoms and improving the quality of life. Untreated conditions may progress to cause complications.
What If Myofascial Pain Syndrome Goes Untreated?
Myofascial pain syndrome is the condition in which the pain originates from the muscles and the connective tissues.1 Various treatment options are available for treating myofascial pain syndrome. This is a chronic condition thus the treatment of myofascial pain may be prolonged. As this is not a life-threatening disorder, people fail to follow a strict treatment regimen and do not take the drugs as directed. The other reason for not following the physician’s instruction is emotional imbalances such as anxiety and depression. But the patient should understand, like almost all the other chronic disease, if left untreated, myofascial pain syndrome leads to serious, sometimes lifelong complications. Following are the complications of untreated myofascial pain syndrome:
Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is one of the important complications of myofascial pain syndrome.2 If left untreated, the condition may cause repetitive signaling to the brain leading to altering the ability of the brain to perceive the pain signals. Further, the pain threshold of the brain might reduce leading to increased severity of pain. Researchers believe that myofascial pain syndrome may be the point of initiation of fibromyalgia.
Sleep disorders. Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic condition with painful symptoms. Thus, if the patient does to have adequate treatment, he will not be able to sleep due to pain.3 Further, as the patient changes his position, the trigger points may get activated causing pain.
Chronic pain. Although the disease itself is characterized by chronic pain, the untreated myofascial pain syndrome leads to chronic pain the intensity of which is higher as compared to the pain of normal myofascial syndrome.
Depression. Untreated myofascial pain lead to psychological stress. The mental health of the patient gets progressively deteriorates and the patient may have depression.
Isolation. The patient suffers from various symptoms and the ability of the patient gets reduced. If the myofascial pain does not get treated at this point the condition worsens at a point that the patient goes into isolation. The patient refuses to meet other people and does not attend social gatherings.
Chronic Disability. In some cases, the trigger point activation may also damage the surrounding tissues, if not treated adequately. This may lead to permanent muscle stiffness leading to reduced mobility.
Brain Structural Changes. Studies indicate that the chronic form of the disease may lead to localized brain atrophy in those regions that are involved in the processing and modulation of pain.
Symptoms Of Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome affects the muscles and the connective tissue. The condition is caused due to the activation of trigger points present on the taut bands of the small muscle within the large muscle. Patients suffering from myofascial pain syndrome experience the following symptoms:
Muscle Pain. Myofascial pain syndrome causes muscle pain that may spread to various parts of the body. The major areas of symptoms include the neck, and back however the patient may also experience a symptom in shoulder and hips. The pain may be unequal on both sides of the body.
Fatigue. Patient suffering from myofascial pain may also feel fatigued. This is due to the low energy in the body.
Tenderness And Spasm. the patient may also experience tenderness and spasm at the site of trigger point activation.
Insomnia. Due to pain and poor mental health, the patient may not be able to have a sound sleep. The condition improves after getting treatment.
As the condition progresses, untreated myofascial pain syndrome start affecting the normal functioning. In some cases, the condition may get transformed to fibromyalgia. Other complications include reduced mobility due to muscle stiffness, chronic pain, and insomnia. There might be changes in the brain structures and the patient may also opt to live in isolation.
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome or Chronic Myofascial Pain: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prognosis, Pathophysiology