As most of my readers know I suffer from chronic back pain. Nowadays spinal fusion is not used as the first choice for prolapsed discs with pain management being the first treatment and only if nerves are compressed is it used as another option.
The problem with spinal fusion especially if you have more than one surgery is the pressure it puts on the disc below and above your fusion.
Another condition which you can also suffer from after any type of surgery is Myofascial Pain Syndrome which is a chronic painful muscle disorder and is common if you have experienced a muscle injury. Over time these myofascial restrictions can lead to poor biomechanics, altered structural alignment, compromised blood supply and pain. Other causes of myofascial pain are injuries to an intervertebral disc, general fatigue, repetitive motions, and some medical conditions.
The symptom of the condition includes muscle pain that feels like a firm knot, which is accentuated when moved. Myofascial pain syndrome gets worse or fails to improve over time. Muscles feel weak, stiff and inflexible and have a reduced range of motion. Due to the pain, there may be difficulty in sleeping, which may also affect a person’s mood.
It is characterised by the myofascial trigger points and the symptoms include persistent or worsening pain, deep and aching muscle pain, tender knots located in the muscles and pain after exercise or sporting activity.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) is the name given to pain caused by trigger points and fascia (connective tissue) adhesions in the body, usually in muscle tissue, and inflammation in the body’s soft tissues. The myofascial pain is usually caused by overuse of the muscle, trauma (injury) or psychological stress. Other contributing factors may include bad posture, small lesions, soft tissue tension or rheumatic arthritis, gout, thyroid problems, or psoriasis among other diseases.
Myo = muscle
Fascia = the main connective tissue in the body
Release = to let go, ease pressure
Treatments include anti-inflammatory medication, pain killers, physical therapy, stretching, massage therapy and trigger point injections.
A trigger point injection is either a cortisone injection or dry needling. Pain relief is quick and helps in continuing physical therapy. Trigger point injections can also be used for people suffering from degenerative disc disease.
Understanding the cause of your pain is an important step to finding an effective solution. It may involve a series of sessions and an at home program to keep the area strong.
Disc pain can come from a disc bulge or prolapse but you can also get myofascial pain which could be treated conservatively instead of surgery. Fibromyalgia patients can also suffer from myofascial pain. According to history, Sir William Gowers introduced the term fibrositis for a common, but idiopathic, localized form of muscular rheumatism that is now recognised as myofascial pain syndrome in 1904. And, despite the intervening years, it still constitutes the largest group of unrecognised and undertreated acute and chronic pain problems. Some people (like myself) have also been told they could have Fibromyalgia, previously named ‘fibrositis’.
Nerve block injections into your neck for a disc bulge can be quite dangerous as they are quite tricky to do and they go through the front of your neck.
I guess with any spinal pain after you have had all the tests it’s then worth trying alternative treatments well before you resort to surgery which is something I have always said I would avoid having.
Source: Top Doctors