Pain is a feeling caused by signals that zip through your nervous system. When you hurt yourself, the injury turns on sensors that send messages to your brain that tell you it hurts. If the injury is serious enough, like a cut or a broken bone, the pain lasts while your body heals. But sometimes your body gets stuck in a mode where it is constantly sending pain signals, even after you have healed from the injury. This is called Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Services.
It can affect all parts of your body, including your bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues. It can be the result of injuries, illness or aging. It can be constant or come and go, and it can feel different for everyone. The pain can range from a little uncomfortable to unbearable, and it may be triggered by movement or certain activities. It can also change your mood, making you anxious or depressed.
Most of the time, musculoskeletal pain is caused by an injury or disease that directly affects your bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues. But it can also be a symptom of other diseases or conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia.
Typically, pain that is caused by an injury or illness is treated with medications such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications help reduce inflammation and swelling and can relieve the pain. If the pain is severe, some patients may need to take opioids to control the pain. These medications can have side effects, such as stomach upset and constipation, and they can be addictive. If you are taking these medications, talk to your doctor before doing any strenuous activities.
Other medications can help with the pain as well, but they are less likely to be habit-forming and have fewer side effects than opioids. For example, topical analgesics such as menthol creams and patches can provide pain relief without the need for a pill. Physical therapy is often recommended to treat musculoskeletal pain. It can help strengthen and stretch the affected area, as well as teach you how to manage your pain better.
When you have a musculoskeletal pain problem, your health care provider will ask how intense the pain is on a scale of 1 to 10, how it is affecting your daily life, and what makes it worse or better. They will do a physical examination to check the area of pain, and they may order imaging tests such as X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to see what is causing your pain. They may also order blood tests to see if you have an infection or other problems that could be causing your pain. They might also do other tests to diagnose the problem, such as a nerve test or an EMG.