Myotherapy: A Successful Approach to Erasing Pain
The simplicity of Myotherapy which involves neither drugs nor surgery is especially remarkable when the severity and disabling nature of many of the myofascial pain syndromes is considered. Persistent intractable pain will increasingly dominate a person’s life, leading to depressive behavior, economic deprivation and disruption of family dynamics. Therapeutic drugs often have undesirable side effects, and surgery is usually unsatisfactory for long term control of myofascial pain syndromes. In the continued search for treatment and relief of chronic pain, the patient encounters alternating cycles of hope and despair and eventually halts all expectation of ever being able to lead a normal life again. Thus, by the time Myotherapy has become a treatment option, (Myotherapists accept patients by physician referral), considerable emotional support may be needed to rekindle the motivation to get well. Yet, some 85% of our patients, regardless of their presenting problems, experience substantial pain relief over a short period of time and are able to resume productive lives. In our patient population, the median number of treatments is five. Most patients fall into a range of between three to ten sessions, with a few located at either end of the spectrum.
It appears that the required length of treatment depends as much on a person’s previous state of physical fitness and motivation to perform the prescribed exercises as on the severity and duration of the presenting problem. We also have found that certain medications, notably antidepressants, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, and narcotics interfere with Myotherapy. Side effects of Myotherapy seems to be limited to occasional bruising and residual soreness. At this stage, Myotherapy is largely an empirical treatment modality, but given the similarities to other sensory methods of pain control, such as use of the TENS unit, acupuncture and trigger point injection, similar underlying neural mechanisms may explain their pain relieving effects. The uniqueness of the Myotherapy approach lies in the exercise component. Since the technique is not only comprehensive but also simple and relatively free of side effects, it is to be hoped that Myotherapy will find its place as a first line method for control of chronic pain syndromes.