Headaches, Stiff Neck?
Could you have a Trigger Point Problem?
Ever wonder what can be done to help headaches, neck stiffness, carpal tunnel like symptoms, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, back pain, sciatica or even shin splints?
The majority of my clients have needed Trigger Point Massage in some form to alleviate pain and/or symptoms.
Trigger Points: What are they?
Trigger points can cause local pain as well as referral pain into another area. For instance, active trigger points in the shoulder and neck regions may cause headaches.
Muscles make up between 36-42% of body weight, on average. They are a large percentage of our total weight and have a corresponding impact on our health. When all is in working order, muscles allow us to perform normal activities with ease.
Pain can make us less active, more tense or fatigued. Everyday pressures and stresses or overuse injury in athletes can produce muscular or “soft tissue” pain often characterised by what medical professionals call “trigger points”.
When you feel a normal muscle, it should be soft and pain free to touch and press. In an active trigger point, part of the muscle contracts into a thickened area, which is why they feel like small knots under the skin. Compression of a trigger point may elicit local tenderness, referred pain, or local twitch response. The local twitch response is not the same as a muscle spasm. This is because a muscle spasm refers to the entire muscle contracting whereas the local twitch response also refers to the entire muscle but only involves a small twitch, no contraction.
How Trigger Points Are Formed?
Trigger points form only in muscles. They form as a local contraction in a small number of muscle fibres in a larger muscle or muscle bundle. These in turn can pull on tendons and ligaments associated with the muscle and can cause pain deep within a joint where there are no muscles.
The damage to muscle and connective tissue which results in trigger points can occur several ways. It can happen as the result of:
Repetitive overuse injuries (using the same body parts in the same way hundreds of times on a daily basis) from activities such as typing/handheld electronics, gardening, home improvement projects, work environments, etc.
- Sustained loading as with heavy lifting, carrying babies and boxes.
- Habitually poor posture due to a sedentary lifestyle.
- Muscle clenching and tension due to mental/emotional stress.
Active and Latent Trigger Points
After forming, trigger points have two phases, active and latent. Active trigger points cause ongoing, persistent pain; latent trigger points are pain free until pressed. Both create a local twitch response when pressed.
They are often associated with decreased range of motion, weakness in the effected muscle group, and a decreased ability of the muscle to stretch.
How Many Trigger Points Can I Have?
All muscle tissue is potentially prone to developing trigger points. Sometimes people have one trigger point but more often they have many. Prolonged referral of pain and weakness from a one trigger point to another area of the body will generally cause other trigger points to develop in that area. These, in turn, if left untreated, can activate and also refer pain, creating multiple pain patterns. The more areas that have pain and the longer you have had the pain, the more trigger points you are likely to have. It is rare for someone with pain to only have one or two muscles with trigger points.
If you have any questions/want to know more in relation to Trigger Point Massage treatments or alternatively wish to book a treatment please do not hesitate to contact me at:
Facebook@Gavin Ashfield Sports Massage or email firstname.lastname@example.org
References: Wikipedia and National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists (NAMTPT)