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“It Hurts”: Why Painful Muscle Conditions Are More Complex Than You Realize

March 26, 2024

Is your exercise helping or hurting your back

Muscle spasms. Muscle stiffness. Muscle fatigue. Muscle pain. You hear these terms in TV commercials. You may see them in injury reports for professional sports teams.

But when patients arrive for appointments at Natural Healthcare Center, they usually don’t know what these terms mean, especially from a clinical perspective. They just say, “It hurts.”

That’s when our clinical team gets to work to determine what “hurts” means, what’s causing the “hurt,” and what types of treatment will be both safe and effective.

For example, manual therapy is often overlooked for the treatment of myalgia, myofascitis, or muscle pain. Manual therapy means one human is using their hands to treat another human. On the other hand, if myalgia is caused by an autoimmune disease or a chemical reaction in the body to medication, manual therapy won’t work.

You also have to choose the right form of manual therapy. A massage may make you feel great in the moment, and it won’t make your condition worse when performed by a licensed massage therapist who’s trained in a variety of modalities. But if the pain returns the next day, massage won’t solve the problem as a standalone treatment. 

Chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists perform various types of manual therapy that should be considered. For example, acupuncturists and trained therapists perform cupping, while Lidocaine trigger point shots can be very helpful as well. 

Let’s go back to myalgia for a minute. Stress, adrenal insufficiency, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme’s Disease, viral infection, habitual medication use, and many other conditions contribute to myalgia. Throw in chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity and you have an even more complex condition, which requires a more complex, personalized treatment plan.

Suppose a patient is diagnosed with lumbar stenosis, or two-level disc herniation. They see an orthopedic surgeon and pain management doctor, both of whom focus on the disc and spinal condition, and rightfully so. The patient has received epidurals, possible surgery or other medical techniques, and an MRI focusing on the soft tissue in the lower back.

While I also address the disc or lumbar diagnosis, I also devote significant time and attention to the surrounding soft tissue – most importantly, the musculature. A truly comprehensive approach to care means looking at the bigger picture, including the physical, psychological, and nutritional components of the Triad of Health

This integrative approach is complicated and demands more analysis and evaluation, but that’s how you treat different types of muscle pain effectively.

The unfortunate reality is that most people tend to attribute every ache and pain to an injury and reach for over-the-counter pain medication for relief. A pill for every ill, as I’ve been saying for more than 30 years.

These medications were designed for short-term use. The longer you use them, the more likely you are to notice problems with other systems in the body. Kidney and liver damage, stomach pain, ulcers, blood circulation issues, and other conditions can be caused by long-term use of over-the-counter pain medication.

In our country, a high percentage of people over the age of 50 experience pain when they wake up in the morning. The pain, stiffness, spasm, or fatigue they feel in their muscles, especially their back, are accepted as normal. “You can’t stop the aging process,” they say.

Father Time waits for nobody. That’s true. But a life of chronic pain is hardly a foregone conclusion.

Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. If you see a clinician who has the expertise to identify conditions that are contributing to your pain and create a personalized treatment plan, you could very well return to the activities and lifestyle you enjoy. 

If you’re experiencing muscle pain, stiffness, spasms, or fatigue, or it just plain hurts, schedule a complimentary consultation today at Natural Healthcare Center. 

Dr. Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.