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Burning Neck & Head Pain

Updated April 17, 2017

Many of us experience pain when we are performing everyday tasks such as washing dishes, doing laundry or even sending e-mails. These pains can occasionally last for long periods of time and can become quite troublesome. This is especially true for head and neck pain. If you are experiencing burning sensations or pain in your head and neck, you may be suffering from myofascial pain dysfunction.

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Among the major symptoms of myofascial (pronounced mi-oh-fay-she-ul) pain dysfunction are pain and/or burning in the head and neck. Other symptoms include muscle spasms and "stabbing pain." If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk with your primary care physician about treatment options, as there is no specified cure for the condition.

What is Myofascial Pain Dysfunction?

Myofacial---fascia that is related to muscle tissue---pain arises as a result of fascia in our bodies that is not moving properly. The fascia in humans, according to Devin J. Starlanyl, author of "Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual" (2nd Edition), is like "the white, translucent covering you sometimes see on a chicken breast under the skin." When this layer of tissue is not working properly, Starlanyl tells us that "sheets of fibrous myofascial adhesion can form anywhere along nerves and block normal healthy function." Normal healthy functioning is when the adhesions do not exist and the tissue can move naturally by tightening and relaxing with your muscles and other parts of your body.


Fibromyalgia is typically the syndrome blamed for burning head and neck pain; however, fibromyalgia has its own set of symptoms apart from myofascial pain dysfunction, and the two should not be confused with one another. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include pain, but there are also a multitude of other symptoms such as, Starlanyl says, sensitivity to noises, perfumes, crowded places, light and a host of other symptoms separate from those of myofacial pain dysfunction.


If you and your physician have established that you are in fact suffering from myofascial pain dysfunction, treatment may include massage of the affected area or using certain medications. You might also heed Starlanyl's advice, which "may involve changing to a healthy diet and avoiding excess carbohydrates, adding vitamin and mineral supplements, regaining restorative sleep (which may need no more than adding benadryl at night, or may be much more complex), and adding some gentle exercise and stress-removing activities."

Personal Functioning

Myofascial pain dysfunction can hinder normal functioning, as it does cause considerable pain. Following Starlanyl's advice---and the advice of your physician and learning as much as you can about this ailment---"with a little direction, you can do a lot for yourself and your own well-being" that can help you to take control of the ailment so the ailment does not control you, and you can once again wash the dishes, do the laundry and send e-mails without experiencing pain.

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About the Author

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson teaches writing at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University. He wrote Writing Across the Curriculum content for Western Michigan University's Best Practices site. Johnson graduated from Western Michigan University with a Master of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in educational technology.

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