Piriformis syndrome is caused by a tight contracted piriformis muscle putting pressure on the sciatic nerve causing symptoms of tingling, numbness, and altered sensation. This muscle is often tight in people who sit for long periods of time. A common cause of this muscle being contracted and tight are trigger points. These trigger points are contracted knots within the belly of the muscle. These knots cause the muscle to become shortened. Trigger points will also cause pain on their own. This is usually felt as a deep achy pain in the glute and hip area, as well as in the back of the leg.
The Rectus Femoris muscle is a large muscle that makes up part of the quadriceps group. It functions to extend the knee and flex the hip. It originates on the anterior inferior iliac spine and part of the acetabulum. It’s insertion is the patella via the quadriceps tendon and tibial tuberosity via the patellar ligament. Trigger points in this muscle refer deep into the knee. This muscle is an often overlooked source of knee pain.
The trapezius muscle is a large diamond shaped muscle in your upper and middle back and neck. It it responsible for both shoulder and neck movements. Trigger points in the upper portion of this muscle are the most common points to develop in the body. These trigger points most often occur due to poor posture, such as a slumped sitting posture. Trigger points in the upper portion of the traps will cause pain to refer into the neck, head, and into the temple. These points are one of the most common causes of headaches.
The multifidus muscle is a long muscle that travels the length of the spine. It has different actions on different parts of the spine. It extends and laterally flexes the cervical and lumbar spine, and rotates the thoracic spine. Trigger points in this muscle are common due to poor posture and bad movement mechanics. Trigger points in the lumbar area area are a common cause of low back pain. These lower points can also refer into the abdomen. Points that form in the cervical region will refer pain down the neck into the shoulder blade area.
The rectus femoris muscle is one of your quad muscles. It acts primarily to extend the knee but it also helps to flex the hip. This muscle is often overloaded from athletic activity, but it also can become chronically shortened from prolonged sitting. Trigger points will refer pain deep into the knee producing a deep ache felt into the joint.
Trigger points are hyper irritable knots found in muscle tissue. These points form in a muscle due to overload stress. Trigger points can form anywhere, in any muscle. Once formed they irritate sensory nerves and produce pain, refered pain, weakness, and stiffness. Trigger points will also mimic symptoms of other conditions such as “sciatica” or Carple tunnel syndrome. Trigger points will not go away on there own, they must be manually released with hands on techniques like trigger point massage.
Activation of trigger points may be caused by a number of factors, including acute or chronic muscle overload, activation by other trigger points (key/satellite, primary/secondary), disease, psychological distress (via systemic inflammation), homeostatic imbalances, direct trauma to the region, collision trauma (such as a car crash which stresses many muscles and causes instant trigger points) radiculopathy, infections and health issues such as smoking.