What are Trigger Points
Trigger points are taut bands that can be found in every muscle in your body and are commonly referred to as ‘knots’. Trigger points are most commonly seen alongside pain and tension in the body. These are often caused by stress and injury to the muscle. Trigger points are commonly treated by ischemic compression and dry needling.
When a muscle is in constant contraction trigger points form due to localised build up of tension. Some example of what causes this:
Trigger points often can cause decreased range of motion, decreased strength & ‘achy’ pain in the muscle. This can present locally (where the trigger point is) or radiate elsewhere in the muscle or other parts of the body. This is known as referred pain.
I’ll give you an example: trigger points in the muscle Levator Scapulae (the muscle joining the neck to the shoulder blade) predominately present locally (see image below)
Whereas another muscle in the neck, known as Sternocleidomastoid, has trigger points that refer pain to various points in the head and neck but not in the muscle itself (see image below)
Treating Trigger Points
Trigger Point Therapy
Uses ischemic compression to release trigger point. Ischemia is the lack of blood flow to an area. Therefore ischemic compression temporarily restricts blood flow to the area in order to promote healing and blood flow and thus releases the trigger point. In trigger point therapy the practitioner simply compresses the trigger point with their thumb, finger or elbow until the trigger point release, which could take a few seconds or a few minutes.
Is a treatment tool that is originally and primarily used to treat trigger point. Dry needling is not acupuncture, but simply uses the same tool- the needle. In trigger point dry needling the small, thin needle is placed straight into the trigger point and therefore releases the trigger point more directly.
Self Treatment Techniques
There are many tool out there these days that allow for self treatment of trigger points, although foam rollers and massage balls currently the most popular at the moment. They come in all shapes and sizes with and without spikes, but all aim to do the same thing- reduce tension and deactivate trigger points (more on this to come)
Fred Saleeba – Clinical Myotherapist
NB- This post have been reposted from my old wordpress blog and altered & updated! :)