Chronic Myofascial Pain

There are about 200 types of connective tissue disease, many of them being auto-immune diseases. One in particular often comes along with fibro, and most people don’t even realize it’s a separate condition. “Chronic myofascial pain” (CMP) is easier to diagnose than fibromyalgia, because the medical professional can readily see and feel the damage.

The myofascia is the membrane that surrounds muscle fibers, every group of muscle fibers, and every muscle. The membranes come together to form tendons and ligaments. (You have seen this membrane yourself, if you have ever prepared to cook chicken and tried to remove the skin. The membrane adheres to the muscle underneath the skin.)

In chronic myofascial pain these membranes harden and tighten. Small tears, or micro-lesions, form in the membranes. These tears scar over. The muscle won’t slide against the hardened, tightened, and injured membranes. The muscles are pulled into very strange and painful lumps that can be easily felt under the skin. Imaging scans of the muscles will show muscles that look “frayed.”

While a person with fibromyalgia will benefit from mild aerobic exercise, the same exercise for a person with CMP may cause damage and feel terrible. Knees, hips, and shoulders give way, and Achilles tendons tighten painfully. When exercise is attempted, muscles might go immediately into a stage of tetanus, or tight, constant contraction, and then won’t relax.

Lumps, and sometimes geloid masses, accumulate and must be massaged out. Massage is extremely painful, and trigger points can stimulate pain elsewhere. CMP can occur by itself, but it is often found with fibromyalgia, adding to the suffering of the victim. The causes are the same. CMP can actually leave a sufferer with permanent damage, and that damage is probably worse for people who go into CMP in prime physical condition.

This is because they’ve done damage by lifting weights or exercising with tight, tearing membranes. Extra pull is exerted on tendons and ligaments, putting more stress on the joints. I was very involved in aerobics and weight training, when I fell ill with fibromyalgia and CMP. Since my muscles and membranes have relaxed, my joints are very loose, my shoulders essentially dislocated. Careful training with very light weights is helping to recondition damaged areas. Thyroid replacement therapy helps with the healing.

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