Have you grown weary and frustrated by pain treatments that don’t seem to work? Most of the time, this is because the treatment doesn’t actually target the main problem. According to research by Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons, authors of “The Trigger Point Manual”, trigger points are the primary cause of pain at least 75 percent of the time, and are actually a factor in every painful condition.

What are trigger points, and how do they trigger pain?

Most traditional doctors often overlook trigger points, a type of muscle stiffness that results from tiny contractions in an overworked or injured muscle or tissue. One particular hallmark of trigger points is “referred” pain. Trigger points tend to send their pain to another part of the body, thus rendering conventional treatments useless.

trigger point

Trigger points often occur due to muscle trauma, strain from repetitive movements, postural strain, emotional stress, and inflammation, among many others. Experiencing just one of these events can cause trigger points to bring pain, something that can last for a long time if not addressed properly by a physio expert in Grafton.

The problem with trigger points

When you experience any harmful event, your body’s immediate reaction is to protect itself from further harm. Your body achieves this by altering the way you move, which consequently puts abnormal stress on your muscles and joints. This produces strength and flexibility imbalances in your muscles as well as postural dysfunctions throughout your body. Furthermore, blood flow becomes restricted, causing both your peripheral and central nervous systems to send out “referred” pain signals. Proper assessment and treatment now becomes more difficult once you begin experiencing these referred pains.

Things can get worse from this point. Suddenly, you’ll begin to experience headaches, low back pain, or neck and jaw pain. In worse cases, you may even suffer from tennis elbow, sciatica, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Furthermore, experts believe that trigger points, when not dealt with early on, can be the cause of fibromyalgia.

Everyone has trigger points

You’ve read that right – everyone has trigger points. The question, however, is the degree of pain one might experience. Often, trigger points produce unexpected symptoms like dizziness, nausea, earache, sinusitis, heartburn, and even numbness in your hands and feet.  If you have lingering pain, tightness or movement restriction, it is a good bet that you’re experiencing the effects of a trigger point.

In this case, facilities like the Institute of Sport Physio recommend Trigger Point Therapy. This involves the application of a deep and sustained pressure to the knotted-up area, allowing for an increased blood flow, a reduction in muscle spasms, and even the break-up of scar tissue.

In the end, as Dr. David Simons puts it, you have the capability to address your own trigger points, and it’s your responsibility to learn more about this condition first.

Sources:

The Trigger Point Manual, Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons

Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain Syndrome, PainScience.com