Most chronic muscle pain is from spinal nerve issues, not just injury or inflammation

In evaluating foot pain we first want to determine if the foot itself is the cause or possible the result of the problem.  Imbalance in the spine and pelvis can create unnatural stress on the foot and cause it to quickly break down.  Likewise, a problem in a foot can transfer excessive strain to the knees, hips and back.

Myofascial pain describes a number of different painful conditions that occur in the musculoskeletal system. Muscles and their connective tissue attachments are the affected and condition are named according to the location of pain.  Elbow pain might be lateral epicondylitis, heel pain is Achilles tendinitis  foot pain might be plantar fascitis).

These conditions can be puzzling because, in spite of the “-itis” (meaning “inflammation”) on the end of the name these conditions frequently exist without any detectable injury or inflammation.  They can also be difficult to treat medically because medications and the commonly available physical therapies only provide temporary relief.  Many patients wander from doctor to doctor in search for relief.

Careful examination of these syndromes often shows them to be the effects of neuropathy appearing in the musculoskeletal system.  The source of the neuropathy may be within shortened or contracted soft tissues or, very commonly, in the small openings between the vertebrae at the spinal nerve root.  The source of the problem is a malfunction in the nervous system and muscle and soft tissue pain are just one possible result. The key to successful management is to understand neuropathy, how it can cause pain, and recognize the many ways it shows up in patients.

Neuropathic pain is the most common cause of chronic myofascial pain.  Shortened muscles are seen in axial musculature (around the spine) as well as musculature in the extremities (arms and legs).  Most significantly, shortening of paraspinal muscles can compress the intervertebral disc and irritate the nerve root to create a vicious cycle that can perpetuate the problem and involve every aspect of the nervous system – motor, sensory and autonomic – setting the stage for ill health and disease in nearly any area of the body.