Musculoskeletal (MSK) Pain

Chronic musculoskeletal pain is the third most common type of persistent pain, and can happen after a mild or major injury to your muscles, tendons, nerves or bones. The injury activates the normal pain pathways and leads to nervous system sensitization. Chronic MSK pain can also be linked to a disease.

Examples of disease-related MSK pain

Hemophilia: A genetic bleeding disorder associated with painful bleeding in the muscles and joints. Repeated bleeds can cause chronic arthropathy (joint disease) or joint changes. Hemophilia mostly affects males.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA): One of the most common types of arthritis in children and young adults. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own cells and tissues. The cause of JIA is unknown, but genetic and environmental factors both seem to contribute to symptoms. JIA causes persistent joint pain, swelling and stiffness.

Ehler-Danlos syndrome (EDS): A genetic condition that affects the connective tissues that support the muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, skin and other organs. Individuals with EDS can experience loose joints, skin that stretches easily and a tendency to bruise easily.

Examples of non-disease-related MSK pain

Fibromyalgia: A syndrome (collection of symptoms) that causes muscle pain, fatigue, memory issues and painful tender points or “trigger points” in the body. It is more common in females than males.

Joint hypermobility syndrome: Joint hypermobility syndrome causes the joints to become much more flexible than usual. This hypermobility is often accompanied by pain and fatigue.

Sacro-iliac (SI) joint pain: The SI joint is at the bottom of the spine, below the lumbar region but above the tailbone. Pain at this point can have many possible causes, including an accidental injury, a genetic condition or arthritis. This type of pain is typically felt in the low back or legs.

Whiplash-associated disorder: Whiplash usually results from an injury after being hit from behind, for example in a car accident or while playing sports. The hit, or trauma, causes the neck to bend too far backward, causing pain.

See your healthcare provider if there is a change in your limb pain, such as:

  • new onset redness

  • swelling

  • pain at night

  • fever

  • weight loss

  • fatigue.

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