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Pains in the muscles are also called Myalgias. Muscular pains may involve a single muscle or a group of muscles that may develop from direct injury or stress to the muscle or to the ligaments or tendons related to the muscle.
Cerebral Palsy (Spasticity)
Cerebral palsy is a term describing a group of disorders that cause problems with balance, movement, and posture. It is caused by either abnormal development or injury to the brain prior to birth. Signs of the condition typically appear in infancy and result in failure to reach developmental milestones or delayed milestones. Symptoms include muscle stiffness (spasticity), poor muscular tone, lack of coordination, difficulty with walking, fine motor skills, and eating, and tremors. This may be associated with other neurological problems such as mental retardation, seizures, learning disabilities, and bowel problems. There is no cure for cerebral palsy but with early interventions with a team of specialists, signs and symptoms can be lessened. The mainstays of therapy include physical, occupational, and speech therapies, possible surgery to correct any deformations, and medications to include muscle relaxants, benzodiazepines, and dopaminergic medications that are typically used in Parkinson disease, braces, Baclofen intrathecal pumps, and BOTOX injections may also be beneficial.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, multiple tender points, and fatigue. “Tender points” refers to tenderness that is found in precise areas, particularly in the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips. A person is considered to have fibromyalgia if they have widespread pain in combination with tenderness in at least 11 of 18 specific tender point sites, persisting for more than 3 months. People with this disorder may also experience other symptoms including sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, and anxiety. Most patients with fibromyalgia describe their pain as “aching all over,” as if their muscles have been pulled or overworked. Sometimes their muscles twitch and at other times they burn. The majority of sufferers (90%) are women, diagnosed in their twenties and thirties, but the disorder has been found in people of all ages. Changes in weather, cold drafts, hormonal fluctuations (premenstrual and menopausal states), stress, depression, anxiety and over-exertion can all aggravate the condition and cause symptom flare-ups. Diagnosis is made by history and physical exam with your doctor. There is no blood test to diagnose fibromyalgia, but blood tests can be expected to rule out other causes of diffuse musculoskeletal pain.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
This typically refers to localized and sometimes diffuse pain in the body due to skeletal muscle injury or strain. Muscle strains and injuries can lead to muscle spasm that restricts localized blood flow and thus oxygen delivery to the injured area. This can lead to release of inflammatory chemicals in the tissues which can sustain any localized muscle spasm. These spasmed areas or “trigger points” can actually be felt under the skin as well circumscribed painful areas. These trigger points can also refer pain outside of their localized areas. Typical treatment involves anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and active stretching of the painful areas. Sometimes localized injections into the painful areas are required. Often times, myofascial pain is secondary to some other primary problem restricting a person’s motion.