Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome Desensitization Techniques

Intro to Desensitization Techniques for Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome (AMPS).


Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome Desensitization Techniques

In this video, we will give you a brief overview of Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome, commonly referred to as AMPS, as well as the role of desensitization techniques for the treatment of AMPS.

AMPS is a chronic, non-inflammatory, musculoskeletal pain condition in which an over-firing of nerve fibers leads to an exaggerated pain response. In a typical pain response, such as when you step on something sharp, like glass or a tack, nerve fiber send a message to the brain that there is pain. The brain than reflexively sends a message back to the tissues and muscles that causes them to contract and squeeze real tight. The nerves also affect blood vessels and cause them to tighten up and decrease blood flow to the injured body region. Without this blood flow, there is a buildup of lactic acid and this results in pain.

In AMPS, the nervous system goes haywire and the nerve fibers over-fire to the point where the pain response becomes amplified. This can become so amplified that even something like a touch or a hug will hurt. This pain is known as Allodynia or pain with a typically non-painful trigger. In order to treat patients with amplified pain we have to retrain how the nerves are firing and restore the normal pain thresholds so the body can perceive the things that are typically non-painful as regular touch again.

One way this can be done is through desensitization. Desensitization techniques are key for treating Allodynia, the exaggerated pain from light touch. Desensitization, referred to as 'DESENS', consists of repeated exposure of those areas of the body with Allodynia to different temperatures, pressures or textures, over and over again, until the pain threshold resets. It is important to target areas of the body where the pain is the worst and to do exercises that really challenge the nerve fibers.

We recommend that the patient experiencing pain performs these exercises on him or herself and tries to incorporate them in to everyday activities. We also recommend the exercises be performed for three to five consecutive minutes, up to four to five times per day. It's important to keep up desensitization exercises even on days when the pain isn't quite as bad.

It is important to note that desensitization is one piece of the treatment for AMPS, which also includes regular psychological counseling or talk therapy, as well as aerobic exercises, which might include formal physical therapy.

In the associated videos on desensitization, we will introduce the specific techniques for all of the different types of desensitization exercises we recommend. If in doubt of the correct treatment approach or in need of more guidance, we urge you to consult with your primary medical provider and/or occupational therapist.

Desensitization comes in a variety of formats and they might vary for each person but there are number of opportunities for you to incorporate desensitization exercises into your everyday routine.

The next several videos are available to teach you how to perform specific desensitization techniques.

Topics Covered: Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome (AMPS)

Related Centers and Programs: Center for Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome