Problems associated with trigger points

Trigger Points in muscle and other soft tissue are one of the most common causes of a wide variety of pain and dysfunction, including (but not limited to):

• Achy persistent pain
• Severe local pain
• Arm / leg pain
• Back pain
• Radiating pain
• Weakness
• Stiffness

• Pain resulting from a medical condition, such as
– Migraines
– Sciatica
– TMJ dysfunctions
– Arthritis
– Fibromyalgia
– Carpal tunnel syndrome
– Soft tissue injuries
– And more…

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Trigger points in the levator scapula

The levator scapula is a muscle located in your neck. It originates on the transverse processes of C1-C4 vertebrae. It inserts on the superior part of the medial border of the scapula. This muscle acts to elevate the scapula and rotate the glenoid fossa downward. At the cervical attachment it acts to rotate the neck to the same side and assists extension. Trigger points will refer pain into the angle of the neck with spillover into the scapula. When this muscle is tight due to trigger points it will restrict neck rotation causing the classic stiff neck. With a forward head position this muscle often becomes stretched and over worked.

Trigger points in the lateral pterygoid muscle

The Lateral Pterygoid muscle is a muscle of the jaw. It originates on the greater wing of the sphenoid bone and the lateral pterygoid plate. It has its insertion on the condyloid process of the mandible. Functionally it it assists in opening the jaw by pulling the head of the mandibular condyle out of the mandibular fossa. Trigger points in this muscle refer pain into the temporal mandibular joint and maxillary sinus. Trigger points in this muscle are often the cause of pain felt from TMJ dysfunction.

Pregnancy Related Low Back Pain

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Low back pain during pregnancy is quite common. In fact, between 50-75% of all pregnant women will experience low back pain. The pain is usually caused from rapid changes in weight, posture, gait and hormones.

The average woman gains between 20-40 pounds throughout pregnancy. This weight gain moves your center of gravity forward, causing your pelvis to tilt and your lower back to sway – placing excessive stress on the ligaments, discs, and joints of your spine.

Pregnancy-related low back pain typically starts between the fifth and seventh month of pregnancy, although a significant portion of women experience pain sooner. Symptoms often begin at the base of your spine and may radiate into your buttock or thigh. Discomfort is often aggravated by prolonged standing, sitting, coughing, or sneezing. Your symptoms may increase throughout the day, and some patients report nighttime pain that disturbs their sleep. The extremes of activity seem to contribute to pregnancy-related low back pain – with increased risk for both “sedentary” and “physically demanding” lifestyles. Patients who have suffered with back pain prior to pregnancy are more than twice as likely to re-develop back pain during pregnancy.

Be sure to tell your doctor if your symptoms include fever, chills, bleeding, spotting, unusual discharge, cramping, sudden onset pelvis pain, light-headedness, shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, calf pain or swelling, decreased fetal movement, or symptoms that radiate beyond your knee.

Unfortunately, pregnancy related low back pain occurs at a time when your medical treatment options are limited. Not surprisingly, over 90% of prenatal health care providers would recommend drug-free treatment, including the type of alternative therapy provided in this office. Studies have shown that chiropractic manipulation provides significant relief of pregnancy-related low back pain. Almost 75% of women undergoing chiropractic care report significant pain reduction with improved ability to function.

Most patients will also benefit from continuing aerobic exercise throughout pregnancy. The US Department of Health and Human Services advises that healthy pregnant women may begin or continue moderate intensity aerobic exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. Women should not begin “vigorous” exercise during pregnancy, but those who were preconditioned to vigorous exercise may continue. Be sure to check with your doctor prior to initiating or increasing any exercise program while you are pregnant.

Be sure to take frequent breaks from prolonged sitting or standing. You may find benefit by using a small foot stool to alternate feet while standing. Sleeping with a pillow between the knees in a side lying posture may help you to rest more comfortably. You should wear shoes with good arch supports. In some cases, your chiropractor may recommend a sacroiliac belt or pelvic support belt to help relieve your pregnancy-related low back pain.

Lumbar Spondylolisthesis

Your spine is made up of 24 individual vertebrae all stacked on top of each other. The lowest five vertebrae are referred to as your lumbar spine. Each vertebra has two basic components: the “body” and the “arch.” You can envision this as a coffee mug lying on its side. The cup would represent the vertebral body, and the handle would represent the arch. The spinal cord travels through each of

the vertebral arches on its way from your brain to your tailbone. The term “lumbar isthmic spondylolisthesis” describes a condition where your arch has broken free from its anchor on the vertebral body, allowing the vertebral body to slide forward. Lumbar spondylolisthesis typically affects the lowest lumbar vertebra, L5, or occasionally the second lowest, L4.

The condition is sometimes caused by trauma, but more often follows a “stress fracture” involving the arch of the vertebra. This break and slippage is thought to result from repetitive movements, especially hyperextension (arching back) and rotation. The break usually happens during childhood but does not always cause symptoms when it occurs. Many times, the condition will lie dormant until later in life. Lumbar spondylolisthesis is present in six to seven percent of the population and affects males twice as often as females. The problem is more common in those who participate in sports. Some sports predispose children to this “break and slip”. Athletes who participate in gymnastics, rowing, diving, football, wrestling, weight lifting, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and track & field throwing sports (i.e. discus, shot put, etc) are at greatest risk.

The pain usually starts in your back but may radiate into your buttock or thigh. Your pain usually intensifies with standing upright for prolonged periods of time or leaning backwards, especially during heavy activity. Some women report increased symptoms during the later stages of pregnancy. Be sure to tell your doctor if you notice pain, numbness or tingling in your groin, a loss of bowel or bladder function, fever, night sweats, pain extending beyond your knee, or weakness in your legs.

Your doctor will “grade” your spondylolisthesis based on the percent of the vertebral body that has slipped forward. Your doctor will try to determine if your spondylolisthesis is “active”, meaning a recent break or “inactive”, referring to a long-standing problem. If your doctor has determined that your spondylolisthesis is new and has a chance of worsening, you may need to stop certain activities or sports for a period of time until your fracture heals. Sometimes a lumbar brace is used to help you recover more quickly. Patients with a long-standing “inactive” spondylolisthesis may benefit from a combination of treatments including stretching and strengthening. You should limit leaning backwards or sleeping on your stomach. Females should avoid wearing high heels.

Advice for headache sufferers….

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Get Moving.

A new study of 573 office workers found that “one hour weekly of strength training reduced headache frequency and intensity.” Timing and spacing of session times did not affect the positive outcome, but participants whose training was supervised used fewer medications.

So, if you or someone you know suffers from headaches, call us today. Our doctors have powerful natural tools for treating headaches and can help design an exercise plan to stay healthy. Learn more about headaches here:

Headache Info Video

Source:

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Andersen, CH et al. Effect of resistance training on headache symptoms in adults: Secondary analysis of a RCT. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, Volume 32, 2017, Pages 38-43 ”

TMJ dysfunction

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a blanket term that refers to pain and dysfunction of the jaw muscles and the tempomandibular joints which connect the mandible to the skull. The most common symptoms are pain and restricted mandibular movement as well as grinding noises coming from the joint. This condition is more common in women then in men, and affects a large portion of patients suffering from fibromyalgia. Trigger points in the muscles of mastication are frequently involved in TMJ dysfunction. Trigger points in the pterygoid and masseter muscles for example will not only refer pain into the tempomandibular joints, but will also cause a dysfunctional movement pattern that can restrict range of motion. Trigger point therapy can be an effective modality to treat TMJ dysfunction.