Neck pain and stiffness are very common. Most of us have, at one point or another experienced it. Neck pain can range from being an annoyance to being excruciating and debilitating. Lots of issues can cause neck pain, but one of the most common causes are myofascial trigger points. Trigger points from in muscles tissue from overload stress. This stress causes muscle fibers in a muscle to become contracted into a knot. These knots will produce pain, referred pain, stiffness and weakness among other symptoms. Trigger points in the levator scapulae and the trapezius muscles are a leading cause of neck pain and stiffness.
Trigger points are the clinical name for contracted muscle knots. These knots are the result of an overload stress placed on the muscle tissue. This overload can be from both acute or chronic stresses. When this happens some of the muscle fibers get locked together in a maximally contracted spasm that self perpetuates. These trigger points then cause symptoms such as pain, referred pain, stiffness, and weakness. They are one of the most common source of pain in the human body, and can even mimick symptoms of other conditions. Trigger points don’t go away on their own, they also can’t be treated with stretching, rest or rehabilitation exercises. A direct intervention targeted directly at the point itself such as trigger point massage therapy is the only way to release a trigger point.
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One of the most common causes of neck pain and headaches that I see in the clinic is poor neck posture. This posture presents itself as a neck forward head up posture. The neck is usually rounded forward and down but the head has to be tilted up in order to see what’s in front of you. This posture will cause all types of imbalances with a combination of strained and contracted muscles. This can lead to not only a stiff achy neck, but also headache pain as well. Trigger points often develop in muscles subjected to this type of chronic strain. These points will cause pain, refered pain, stiffness, and weakness. These points will also mimick numerous other symptoms. Trigger points are difficult to deal with as rest and stretching usually aren’t enough to treat them. Trigger point massage therapy is one of the proven methods of treating trigger points.