Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain
The musculoskeletal system includes the bones of your body, your muscles and connective tissues like tendons and ligaments. It supports your weight, protects internal organs and allows you to move. When it doesn’t function as it should, you may experience pain. It can be localized to one area or more widespread, acute (sudden) or chronic (long-lasting). It can be sharp or dull, throbbing or burning. You may notice swelling or redness and hear popping or grinding noises when moving your joints. It can also interfere with your work, play or daily activities.
Pain is the most common symptom of musculoskeletal disorders. It is often intense and may radiate. It can be triggered by specific movement or postures or made worse by these activities. It can also be constant or come and go. Often pain can be difficult to diagnose as it can mimic other conditions and disorders such as heart disease or digestive issues. For example, chest pain can be caused by angina or by a condition called costochondritis.
The most common musculoskeletal disorders that cause pain are back problems, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and neck or shoulder pain. Pain from these disorders can be very difficult to treat and can be a long-term problem.
People who have chronic musculoskeletal pain have a higher risk of other health problems including heart disease, stroke and depression. They have a lower quality of life and a poorer ability to work and care for themselves. In addition, they often have difficulty sleeping and have trouble concentrating.
Pain can be treated with medications, physical therapy or surgery. Some medications used to treat musculoskeletal pain include antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, muscle relaxers and opioids. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are also commonly used to treat pain from musculoskeletal disorders.
In addition to medication and physical therapy, there are other things you can do to help relieve your musculoskeletal pain. Healthy eating, regular exercise, good sleep habits and stress management can all make a difference.
Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Services can be from an injury, overuse or a disease such as fibromyalgia. Some people have a lot of musculoskeletal pain all over the body because they have a disorder such as fibromyalgia. Other people have musculoskeletal pain in one area of the body such as the back, knees or shoulders.
Some musculoskeletal pain is caused by an infection. If you have a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection and your pain. Sometimes your doctor will also order a special test to find out the cause of your musculoskeletal pain. This test is usually an MRI or an X-ray. These tests use magnets and radiation in low doses to make pictures of the tissues inside your body. Your doctor can then decide what treatment is best for you.