Getting the right treatment for your musculoskeletal pain will help you feel better. Primary care doctors often treat this type of pain, but other specialists such as physical therapists, rheumatologists and osteopaths may be involved in your treatment plan as well. The goal of treatment is to relieve pain and prevent it from recurring, so that you can return to your normal activities. Your doctor will probably recommend resting the area of your body that is painful, as well as taking medications to ease the pain. These medications include nonopioid analgesics, such as acetaminophen and NSAIDs, and prescription opioids. Non-pharmacologic therapies to reduce pain and improve your quality of life are also important, such as exercise under the guidance of a physical therapist and cognitive therapy to change negative thinking patterns that may contribute to your pain.
The musculoskeletal system includes the bones of the body, joints and muscles. Injuries to any of these can cause pain. Some examples of musculoskeletal pain are bone pain (such as fractures), joint pain and muscle pain (such as spasms, cramps or injuries). Other types of musculoskeletal pain can be due to conditions such as arthritis, myalgia, osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia. Pain can be acute (sudden and severe), or chronic (long-lasting). It can be localized to one part of the body or more widespread. It can be felt as a sharp, burning or throbbing sensation. It can be described as being achy or stiff. It can be accompanied by other symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, tenderness and loss of movement.
Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Services is more common in women than in men. There are also age and sex-specific patterns, with the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain from arthritis or myalgia being higher in older people, and the prevalence of fibromyalgia being higher in females than in males. It is also more common in people who are overweight.
Many of the same risk factors that increase your chances of developing musculoskeletal pain also make it harder to manage. These include smoking, being overweight, poor diet, depression and inactivity, which can all contribute to a greater level of pain and difficulty coping with it.
The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain varies widely worldwide, with some countries having much higher rates than others. This is partly because of differences in medical practice and access to health services. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 in 5 people with musculoskeletal pain do not get the right kind of medical treatment.
It is important for everyone to know what musculoskeletal pain is and how to recognise it. The best way to do this is to visit your GP or specialist, who will ask you about the symptoms and what makes them better or worse. They will then refer you to a specialist if necessary, such as a physical therapist or psychologist. It is also worth looking on the internet for information about musculoskeletal pain and any other symptoms you are experiencing. It can be helpful to connect with others who have experienced the same condition and to find out what helps them cope, as this can give you more strength and confidence to keep going.