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Mystery Pain In The Muscle

Thursday 5 July 2018


From Indian newspaper The Telegraph:


Neck pain

Mystery pain in the muscle

Your health

By Dr Gita Mathai
July 04, 2018
Copyright © 2018 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.

Pain is a common complaint. Acute pain comes on suddenly and may be due to trauma, internal obstruction, or an infection. Its onset can be pinpointed. Sometimes, the pain starts so gradually that it is difficult to isolate its time of origin. Pain is considered to be chronic if it has lasted three months or more. Quite often, chronic pain is in one or more of the joints, or the spine, back or hip. It may affect multiple joints as in rheumatoid arthritis, or one or more large joints as with degenerative osteoarthritis. In most acute or chronic conditions, blood tests and imaging studies confirm the diagnosis.

It becomes difficult to arrive at a diagnosis when the pain is all over the body, not just in the joints but symmetrically in the muscles. If the muscles are palpated, tender, large or pea-sized nodules can be felt (but not seen). Pressure on the nodules elicits pain locally and in other sites. It may even cause localised spasm of the muscles and twitching.

This condition is called fibromyalgia and it is a diagnosis of exclusion. It is a debilitating long-term chronic illness that affects up to two per cent of the general population. Females are more frequently affected. it usually starts in middle age. It is often accompanied by other vague symptoms like restlessness, fatigue without physical activity, inadequate and unsatisfactory sleep, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, and morning stiffness. The lack of restful sleep results in memory problems. The constant pain can cause anxiety and depression.


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