Trigger points in the sternocleidomastoid muscle.

The Sternocleidomastoid muscle is a strap like muscle in your neck. It originates on the manubrium and medial clavicle. It inserts on the mastoid process of the temporal bone, and the superior nuchal line. This muscle acts alone to rotate the face to the opposite side and lift it two rod the ceiling. Together they flex the head and neck. Trigger points in sternal division of this muscle refer pain to the cheek and along the supraorbital ridge. The lowest points refer down to the sternum. The highest points refer to the occipital ridge and vertex of the head. Trigger points in the costal division refer to the into the forehead. The most superior trigger points refer into the ear, and can postural dizziness.

Advertisements

Trigger points in the trapezius muscle.

The trapezius muscle is a large diamond shaped muscle that travels from the neck to the mid back. It originates on the nuchal ligament, and the spinous processes of C6-T12. It has its insertion on the scapular spine, acromion process, and distal clavicle. The upper fibres of this muscle work to elevate the shoulder, and rotate the glenoid fossa upwards. The lower fibres assist this motion, and the middle fibres are strong adductors of the scapula. This is the number one muscle in the body tp get trigger points. Trigger points in the lateral upper edge refer pain in the lateral neck and temples, a common cause of headaches. Points in the middle and lower fibres refer pain into the posterior neck and shoulder.

Trigger point massage

Session Description

A treatment with Bryan is very user friendly. And, no, you don’t have to remove any clothing. However, bringing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts or sweats is recommended.

The first time you come for a treatment you will be asked to fill out a Client History form. Bryan will go over the information you provide, asking for more detail and discussing the type of pain you are having and its location.

The treatment itself involves locating the Trigger Points in the muscle or soft tissue and applying a deep focused pressure to the Point. This will reproduce the pain and the referral pattern that is characteristic of that pain.

The treatment will be uncomfortable at first, but as the Trigger Points release, the pain will decrease. The pressure will always be adjusted to your tolerance level. If, at any time, you feel too uncomfortable you can ask Bryan to ease off a bit.

Depending on your specific problem, Bryan may also use some stretching and / or range-of-motion techniques, as needed.

After treatment, it is usually recommended that the client apply moist heat to the area treated.

A treatment with Bryan Cobb RMT.

Session Description

A treatment with Bryan is very user friendly. And, no, you don’t have to remove any clothing. However, bringing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts or sweats is recommended.

The first time you come for a treatment you will be asked to fill out a Client History form. Bryan will go over the information you provide, asking for more detail and discussing the type of pain you are having and its location.

The treatment itself involves locating the Trigger Points in the muscle or soft tissue and applying a deep focused pressure to the Point. This will reproduce the pain and the referral pattern that is characteristic of that pain.

The treatment will be uncomfortable at first, but as the Trigger Points release, the pain will decrease. The pressure will always be adjusted to your tolerance level. If, at any time, you feel too uncomfortable you can ask Bryan to ease off a bit.

Depending on your specific problem, Bryan may also use some stretching and / or range-of-motion techniques, as needed.

After treatment, it is usually recommended that the client apply moist heat to the area treated.

 

What the Heck Is a Trigger Point?

By Bryan Cobb, Advanced Remedial Massage Therapist

What is a Trigger Point?

Trigger Points (TP’s) are defined as a “hyper-irritable spot within a taut band of skeletal muscle. The spot is painful on compression and can evoke characteristic referred pain and autonomic phenomena.”1

Put into plain language, a TP is a painful knot in muscle tissue that can refer pain to other areas of the body. You have probably felt the characteristic achy pain and stiffness that TP’s produce, at some time in your life.

TP’s were first brought to the attention of the medical world by Dr. Janet G. Travell. Dr. Travell, physician to President John F. Kennedy, is the acknowledged Mother of Myofascial Trigger Points.  In fact, “Trigger Point massage, the most effective modality used by massage therapists for the relief of pain, is based almost entirely on Dr. Travell’s insights.”2  Dr. Travell’s partner in her research was Dr. David G. Simons, a research scientist and aerospace physician.

Trigger Points are very common. In fact, Travell and Simons state that TP’s are responsible for, or associated with, 75% of pain complaints or conditions.1 With this kind of prevalence, it’s no wonder that TP’s are often referred to as the “scourge of mankind”.

Trigger Points can produce a wide variety of pain complaints. Some of the most common are migraine headaches, back pain, and pain and tingling into the extremities. They are usually responsible for most cases of achy deep pain that is hard to localize.

A TP will refer pain in a predictable pattern, based on its location in a given muscle. Also, since these spots are bundles of contracted muscle fibres, they can cause stiffness and a decreased range of motion.  Chronic conditions with many TP’s can also cause general fatigue and malaise, as well as muscle weakness.

Trigger Points are remarkably easy to get, but the most common causes are

TP’s (black dots) can refer pain to other areas (red)

Sudden overload of a muscle

• Poor posture

• Chronic frozen posture (e.g., from a desk job),  and

• Repetitive strain

Once in place, a TP can remain there for the remainder of your life unless an intervention takes place.

Trigger Points Not Well Known

With thousands of people dealing with chronic pain, and with TP’s being responsible for — or associated with — a high percentage of chronic pain, it is very disappointing to find that a large portion of doctors and other health care practitioners don’t know about TP’s and their symptoms.

Scientific research on TP’s dates back to the 1700’s.  There are numerous medical texts and papers written on the subject.

But, it still has been largely overlooked by the health care field.  This has led to needless frustration and suffering, as well as thousands of lost work hours and a poorer quality of life.

How Are Trigger Points Treated?

As nasty and troublesome as TP’s are, the treatment for them is surely straight-forward.  A skilled practitioner will assess the individual’s pain complaint to determine the most likely location of the TP’s and then apply one of several therapeutic modalities, the most effective of which is a massage technique called “ischemic compression”.

Basically, the therapist will apply a firm, steady pressure to the TP, strong enough to reproduce the symptoms.  The pressure will remain until the tissue softens and then the pressure will increase appropriately until the next barrier is felt.  This pressure is continued until the referral pain has subsided and the TP is released. (Note:  a full release of TP’s could take several sessions.) 

Other effective modalities include dry needling (needle placed into the belly of the TP) or wet needling (injection into the TP).  The use of moist heat and stretching prove effective, as well. The best practitioners for TP release are Massage Therapists, Physiotherapists, and Athletic Therapists.  An educated individual can also apply ischemic compression to themselves, but should start out seeing one of the above therapists to become familiar with

the modality and how to apply pressure safely.

1 Simons, D.G., Travell, D.G., & Simons, L.S. Travell and Simons’ Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual.

Vol. 1.  2nd ed. Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins, 1999.

2http://www.muscletherapyworks.com/MTW%20Biography%20T%20&%20S%2001.htm 

Can Chiro help me?

Adjust

Chiropractic is the most widely accepted and most frequently used type of “alternative” healthcare in the United States. This is largely due to the fact that it works, and because of that, there has been a steady increase in acceptance by the public, third-party payers, and the Federal government. Since the mid-1990s, a number of outside (non-chiropractic) observers have suggested that chiropractic has now entered mainstream healthcare.

One can position chiropractic as being BOTH alternative and mainstream. It is “alternative” since it approaches healthcare from an entirely different direction compared to the primary care medical profession. Chiropractic is non-surgical and promotes diet and nutritional approaches vs. drugs and surgery. Chiropractic is also arguably “mainstream” as it has evolved into a strongly utilized form of primary care through popular acceptance and utilization by the public.

So, what role does chiropractic play in today’s health delivery system? This question is still being debated, but there appears to be three camps: 1) Specialist—limited to musculoskeletal (MSK) complaints on an interdisciplinary primary healthcare team; 2) Primary healthcare “gatekeepers” that focus on ambulatory MSK complaints; 3) Generalist primary healthcare provider of “alternative or complementary” medicine that manage and/or co-manage both MSK AND non-MSK conditions.

Looking at this from the patient or “consumer” perspective, chiropractic already plays an important role in the healthcare delivery for many patients. In 1993, a report claimed 7% of American adults had received chiropractic care during the prior year. According to a 2015 Gallup poll (that included 5,442 adults, aged 18+, surveyed between 2/16/15 and 5/6/15) entitled, Majority in U.S. Say Chiropractic Works for Neck, Back Pain, “Chiropractic care has a positive reputation among many US adults for effective treatment of neck and back pain, with about six in 10 adults either strongly agreeing (23%) or agreeing somewhat (38%) that chiropractors are effective at treating these types of pain.”

The “highlights” from this Gallup poll include: 1) Two-thirds say chiropractic is effective for neck and back pain. 2) Many adults say chiropractors think of the patient’s best interest. 3) More than 33 million adults in the United States (US) saw a chiropractor in the twelve months before the survey was conducted. That means roughly 14% of U.S. adults saw a chiropractor in the 12 months prior to the survey (vs. 7% in 1993). An additional 12% who responded to the Gallup pollsters saw a chiropractor in the last five years but not in the last 12 months. Overall, 51% of those polled had previously seen a chiropractor.

Whether or not you have personally utilized chiropractic, the educational process, licensing requirements, public interest, third-party payer systems, and interprofessional cooperation ALL support firm ground for which you can comfortably and confidently seek chiropractic care for your complaints.

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care, we would be honored to render our services.

Is there an actual cure all?

Exercise Tip

No; but exercise seems to be as close as we will ever get! 

Some of you may have heard about how a modified form of boxing is helping patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). If you haven’t, it’s been observed that people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) who engage in this boxing-like exercise routine can enhance their quality of life and even build impressive gains in posture, strength, flexibility, and speed. Proponents of the program report that regardless the degree of severity of PD, participants have a happier, healthier, and higher quality of life.

But must it be boxing? Maybe not. A report presented at the International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in San Diego in June 2015 found that patients with Parkinson’s disease who began regular exercise early into the PD process had a much slower decline in their quality of life when compared with those who started exercising later. The researchers found just 2.5 hours per week of exercise is needed to improve quality of life scores. According to the report, it didn’t matter what exercise the participants did — simply getting up and moving for a total of 2.5 hours/week was reportedly enough (that’s only 20-25 minutes / day)!

Looking beyond Parkinson’s, other chronic conditions also benefit from adding exercise into a person’s lifestyle. Studies show that regular exercise as simple as walking helps reduce one’s risk for memory loss, and it slows down functional decline in the elderly. Incorporating aerobic exercise into one’s lifestyle can also improve reaction time in people at ALL AGES. Exercise has also been shown to improve both physical and emotional well-being in those afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease with as little as 60 minutes/week of moderate exercise! Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have also reported less stiffness and less muscle wasting when using exercise machines, aquatic exercise, and/or walking.

Research has shown just 30 minutes of brisk exercise three times a week can help reduce depressive symptoms in patients with mild-to-moderate depression. In a study involving teenagers, those who engaged in sports reported a greater level of well-being than their sedentary peers, and the more vigorous the exercise, the better their emotion health! In kids 8-12 years old, physical inactivity is strongly linked to depression.

Even anxiety, stress, and depression associated with menopause are less severe in those who exercise! So LET’S ALL GET OUT THERE AND EXERCISE!!!

Diagnosis of trigger points.

Diagnosis of trigger points typically takes into account symptoms, pain patterns, and manual palpation. When palpating the therapist will feel for a taut band of muscle with a hard nodule within it. Often a local twitch response will be elicited by running a finger perpendicular to the muscle fibres direction. Pressure applied to the trigger point will often reproduce the pain complaint of the patient and the referral pattern of the trigger point. Often there is a heat differential in the local area of the trigger point.