Musculoskeletal Pain


Pain affecting the muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones is called musculoskeletal pain.

What causes musculoskeletal pain?

Muscle tissue can be damaged by the wear and tear of daily activities. Trauma to an area - from jerking movements, car accidents, falls, fractures, sprains, dislocations or direct blows to the muscle - can also cause musculoskeletal pain.

Other causes of pain include postural strain, repetitive movements, overuse and prolonged immobilisation. Changes in posture or poor body mechanics may lead to spinal alignment problems and muscle shortening, with the result that other muscles are misused and become painful.

What are the symptoms of musculoskeletal pain?

People with musculoskeletal pain sometimes complain that their entire body aches. Their muscles may feel as if they have been pulled or overworked. Sometimes the muscles twitch or burn. Symptoms vary from person to person, but the common ones are:

How is musculoskeletal pain diagnosed?

Your doctor or physiotherapist will conduct a thorough physical examination and take your medical history. Your doctor may also arrange tests to help confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

Different types of physical therapy, or mobilisation, can be used to treat people with spinal alignment problems. With acute musculoskeletal pain, these techniques have been shown to speed recovery.

In patients with musculoskeletal disorders such as fibromyalgia, medication to increase the body's level of serotonin and noradrenaline (neurotransmitters that modulate sleep, pain and immune system function) are prescribed in low doses.

  • Physical Therapy. A physical therapist can address pain, walking, mobility, bracing and equipment needs that help you stay independent. Practicing low-impact exercises may help maintain your cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and range of motion for as long as possible.

    A physical therapist can also help you adjust to a brace, walker or wheelchair and may suggest devices such as ramps that make it easier for you to get around.

    Regular exercise can also help improve your sense of well-being. Appropriate stretching can help prevent pain and help your muscles function at their best.

  • Occupational Therapy. An occupational therapist can help you find ways to remain independent. Adaptive equipment can help you perform daily activities such as dressing, grooming, eating and bathing.

    An occupational therapist can also help you modify your home to allow accessibility if you have trouble walking safely.

    Occupational therapists also have a good understanding of how assistive technology and computers can be used, even if your hands are weak.

An occupational therapist can also help you modify your home to allow accessibility if you have trouble walking safely.


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