Trigger points are small areas of dysfunctional muscle fibre which are in a state of chronic spasm, they are often caused by muscle fatigue overuse syndromes and related to bad posture. they are commonly the source of joint pain, shoulder, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle. Often trigger points are mistaken for arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, or ligament injury. These areas are painful to touch and trigger radiating pain into other areas of the body.
Shoulder trigger points for example will radiate into the neck ear and behind the eye and can be the root cause of headaches and migraines etc.
Lower back and disk pain can be the result of chronic trigger points in the quadratus lumborus which can lead to disk compression and sciatic pain.
The area of a trigger point will have a higher PH level and contain a build up of acidic metabolic waste and will send neurological pain signals to the brain which will then try to avoid contraction and further irritation of that area leading to muscle weakness and the cause of postural and functional imbalances.
Why is it important to treat trigger points?
Apart from causing radiating pain, these areas of localised chronic muscle fibre contractions put a compression or loading force on joints - a tight and weakened muscle equals a tight joint leading to bad posture and adverse muscle compensation patterns.
If left untreated this can lead to uneven wear patterns on the cartilage of joints and be a cause arthritic conditions, it is also thought trigger points can be the start of fibromyalgia.
How to treat trigger points
Rubbing the skin in these painful areas won't work, deep tissue massage and pressures, trigger point therapy and acupuncture will help in the treatment of these painful points.
Depending on the length of time you have had trigger points will determine the length of time needed to treat them.
Trigger points respond well to Ultrasound therapy and remedial massage treatments including muscle strength exercises which will assist in rehabilitation and recovery of the affected muscle fibres.
In the assessment it will be important to find the source of muscle fatigue, this could be from general postural issues and be related to work, repetitive movements etc. Postural changes will have occurred and it is vital to address these or trigger point pain will return.
Paul Skidmore therapies for sports massage, Ultrasound and acupuncture in Oxford, Bicester, Oxfordshire.
Hi Paul here, welcome to my blog about massage, acupuncture, sports injuries,