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.

What is a trigger point

Dr Janet travel coined the term trigger point in 1942 to describe clinical findings with characteristics of pain related a discrete irritable point in muscle or fascia that was not caused by acute trauma, inflammation, degeneration, neoplasm or infection. The painful point can be palpated as a nodule or tight band in the muscle that can produce a local twitch response when stimulated. Palpation of the trigger point reproduces the pain and symptoms of the patient and the pain radiates in a predictable referral pattern specific to the muscle harbouring the trigger point.

What to expect with a trigger point massage.

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.

He barely hit me; why does it hurt?

You may have heard the comment, “If there’s no damage to the car, then there’s no injury.” Unfortunately, that does not always seem to be the case.

There are MANY factors that affect the dynamics of a collision and whether or not injury occurs. A short list includes: vehicle type and design, speed, angle of collision, momentum, acceleration factors, friction, kinetic and potential energy, height, weight, muscle mass, seat back angle and spring, head position upon impact, etc.

Consider Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This law applies to a car accident at any speed. Using the analogy of hitting a pool ball into the corner pocket straight on, when the cue ball stops, its momentum is transferred to the target ball which accelerates at the same speed…hopefully into the corner pocket!

This example is not quite the same as an automobile collision because the energy transfer is very efficient due in part to the two pool balls not deforming (crushing or breaking) on impact with one another. If either ball did deform, more energy absorption would occur and the acceleration of the second ball would be lower.
In fact, in the United States, vehicle bumpers are tested at 2.5 mph with impact equipment of similar mass with the test vehicle’s brakes disengaged and the transmission in neutral. National Highway Transportation Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) vehicle safety standards demand that no damage should occur to the car in this scenario.
However, energy transfer occurs very quickly and with a greater amount of force when there is no vehicle deformation (damage). As a result, a greater amount of energy (described as G-force) is directly transferred to the occupants inside the vehicle—increasing the risk of injury. A 1997 Society of Automobile Engineers article provided an example in which the same 25 mph (12 m/s) collision resulted in a five-times greater force on the occupants of the vehicle when the crush distance of the impact fell from 1 meter to .2 meters.
So be aware that even low-speed impacts can still place quite a bit of force on your body, even if the bumper of your car doesn’t have a scratch on it.

Trigger points in the trapezius muscle.

The trapezius muscle is a large diamond shaped muscle in you mid/upper back and neck. This muscle is one of the most common sites where trigger points can form. This muscle originates on the Nuchal ligament and the spinous processes of C6-T12. It inserts on the spine of the scapula, the acromion process, and the distal clavicle. The upper fibres elevate the shoulder and rotate the glenoid fossa (shoulder socket) upward. The lower fibres assist this motion as well as help depress the shoulder. The middle fibres of this muscle strongly adduct the scapula. This muscle is susceptible to postural overload such as sitting at desk all day. Trigger points on the lateral upper edge refer into the lateral neck and temples, causing “tension neck ache”as well as headache pain.Trigger points in the middle and lower fibres refer pain into the posterior neck and shoulder.

How long does Whiplash last?

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First, what is whiplash? It’s a lot of things, which is why the term WAD or Whiplash Associated Disorders has become the most common term for the main signs and symptoms associated with a whiplash injury. WAD is usually associated with a motor vehicle collision, but sports injuries, diving accidents, and falls are other common ways to sustain a WAD injury.

To answer the question of the month, in most cases, the recovery rate is high and favors those who resume their normal daily activities. The worse thing you can do when you sustain a WAD injury is to not do anything! Too much rest and inactivity leads to long-term disability. Of course, this must be balanced with the degree of injury, but even when the injury requires some “down time,” stay as active as possible during the healing phase.

Many people recover within a few days or weeks while a smaller percentage require months and about 10% may only partially recover. So what can be done to give you the best possible chance to fully recover as soon as possible?

During recovery, you can expect your condition to fluctuate in intensity so “listen” to your body, let it “guide” you during activity and exercise, and stay within “a reasonable boundary of pain” during your activity. Remember, your best chance for full recovery FAVORS continuing a normal lifestyle. Make reasonable modifications so you can work, socialize, and do your “normal” activities!

The KEY: Stay in control of your condition – DO NOT let it control you! Here are some tips:

1)  POSTURE CONTROL: Keep the weight of the head back by gliding your chin back until you “hit” a firm end-point. Then release it slightly so it’s comfortable—this is your NEW head position!

2)  FLEXIBILITY: Try this range of motion (ROM) exercise… Slowly flex your neck forwards and then backwards, then bend your neck to the left and then the right, and then rotate it to the left and to then to the right. THINK about each motion and avoid sharp, knife-like pain; a “good-hurt” is okay! Next, do the same thing with light (one-finger) resistance in BOTH directions. Try three slow reps four to six times a day!

3)  MUSCLE STRENGTH: Try pushing your head gently into your hand in the six directions listed above to provide a little resistance. Next, reach back with both hands or wrap a towel around your neck and pull forwards on the towel while you push the middle of your neck backwards into the towel doing the chin-tuck/glide maneuver (same as #1). Repeat three to five times slowly pushing, and more importantly, release the push slower! This is the MOST IMPORTANT of the strengthening exercises in most cases! Next, “squeeze” your shoulder blades together followed by spreading them as far apart as possible (repeat three to five times).

4)  PERIODIC BREAKS: Set a timer to remind yourself to do a stretch, get up and move, to tuck your chin inwards (#1) and do some of #2 and #3 every 30-60 minutes.

5)  LIFTING/CARRYING/WORK: Be SMART! Do not re-injure yourself. Change the way you handle yourself in your job, in the house, and while performing recreational activities.

6)  HOUSEHOLD ACTIVITIES: Use a dolly to move boxes and keep commonly used items within easy reach (not too high or low).

Be smart, stay educated, work within the range your body tells you is “safe” and most importantly, STAY IN CONTROL!!!

How can a low speed crash cause injury?

There is certainly a lot of interest in concussion these days between big screen movies, football, and other sports-related injuries. Concussion, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) are often used interchangeably. Though mTBI is NOT the first thing we think about in a low-speed motor vehicle collision (MVC), it does happen. So how often do MVC-related TBIs occur, how does one know they have it, and is it usually permanent or long lasting?

Here are some interesting statistics: 1) The incidence rate of fatal and hospitalized TBI in 1994 was estimated to be 91/100,000 (~1%); 2) Each year in the United States, for every person who dies from a brain injury, five are admitted to hospitals and an additional 26 seek treatment for TBI; 3) About 80% of TBIs are considered mild (mTBI); 4) Many mTBIs result from MVCs, but little is known or reported about the crash characteristics. 5) The majority (about 80%) of mTBI improve within three months, while 20% have symptoms for more than six months that can include memory issues, depression, and cognitive difficulty (formulating thought and staying on task). Long-term, unresolved TBI is often referred to as “post-concussive syndrome.”

In one study, researchers followed car crash victims who were admitted into the hospital and found 37.7% were diagnosed with TBI, of which the majority (79%) were defined as minor by a tool called Maximum Abbreviated Injury Scale (MAIS) with a score of one or two (out of a possible six) for head injuries. In contrast to more severe TBIs, mild TBIs occur more often in women, younger drivers, and those who were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. Mild TBI is also more prevalent in frontal vs. lateral (“T-bone”) crashes.

As stated previously, we don’t think about our brains being injured in a car crash as much as we do other areas of our body that may be injured—like the neck. In fact, MOST patients only talk about their pain, and their doctor of chiropractic has to specifically ask them about their brain-related symptoms.

How do you know if you have mTBI? An instrument called the Traumatic Brain Injury Questionnaire can be helpful as a screen and can be repeated to monitor improvement. Why does mTBI persist in the “unlucky” 20%? Advanced imaging has come a long way in helping show nerve damage associated with TBI such as DTI (diffuse tensor imaging), but it’s not quite yet readily available. Functional MRI (fMRI) and a type of PET scanning (FDG-PET) help as well, but brain profusion SPECT, which measures the blood flow within the brain and activity patterns at this time, seems the most sensitive.

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 for Whiplash, we would be honored to render our services.

Trigger points in the masseter muscle

The masseter is the main muscle that moves your jaw. It originates on the zygomatic arch and maxilla, and inserts on the coronoid process and Ramus of the mandible. It’s actions are to elevate the mandible and close the jaw. The deep fibres of this muscle also retrude the mandible. This muscle commonly harbours trigger points as a result of teeth grinding. Trigger points in this muscle are often also associated with tmj dysfunction. Trigger points in the upper part of this muscle will refer pain to the upper molars and maxilla often felt as sinusitis. Trigger points in the lower portion of this muscle refer to the lower molars and temple. All trigger points can cause tooth sensitivity

So I’ve got Whiplash; now what?

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Whiplash, or “Whiplash Associated Disorders” or WAD, is the result of a sudden “crack the whip” of the head on the neck due to a slip and fall, sports injury, a violent act, or most commonly, a motor vehicle collision (MVC), particularly a rear-end collision. In describing “what can I expect” after a whiplash injury, one thing is for certain, there are many faces of whiplash, meaning the degree of injury can range from none to catastrophic depending on many factors, some of which are difficult or impossible to identify or calculate. Let’s take a closer look!

Even though the good news is that most people injured in a car crash get better, 10% do not and go on to have chronic pain, of which about half have significant difficulty working and/or doing desired everyday activities. There is a “great debate” as to the way experts describe “chronic whiplash syndrome” (CWS) as well as how these cases should be managed. Some feel there is something PHYSICALLY wrong in the CWS patient, especially if severe neck or head pain persists for more than one year. There is some proof of this as Dr. Nikolai Bogduk from the University of Newcastle in Australia and colleagues have used selective nerve blocks to anesthetize specific joints in the neck to determine exactly where the pain is generated. The patient then has the option to have that nerve cauterized or burned and pain relief can be significant in many cases. Dr. Bogduk and his group admit that these CWS patients have more psychological symptoms, but they feel this is the result of pain, not the CAUSE.

On the other hand, experts such as Dr. Henry Berry from the University of Toronto report the EXACT OPPOSITE. He argues that it’s not JUST the physical injury that has to be dealt with but also the person’s “state of mind.” Dr. Berry states that when stepping back and looking at all the complaints or symptoms from a distance, “…you see these symptoms can be caused by life stress, the illness ‘role’ as a way of adjusting to life, psychiatric disorders, or even [made up by the patient].” Berry contends that it’s important to tell the patient their pain will go away soon, advises NO MORE THAN two weeks of physical therapy, and sends people back to work ASAP.

Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine’s Dr. Michael D. Freeman, whose expertise lay in epidemiology and forensic science, disagrees with Dr. Berry stating that the scientific literature clearly supports the physical injury concept and states, “…the idea that it is a psychological disturbance is a myth that has been perpetuated with absolutely no scientific basis at all.” Dr. Freeman states that 45% of people with chronic neck pain were injured in a motor vehicle crash (which includes three million of the six million of those injured in car crashes every year in the United States).

Here’s the “take home” to consider: 1) CWS occurs in about 10% of rear-end collisions; 2) Some doctors feel the pain is physically generated from specific nerves inside the neck joints; 3) Others argue it’s a combination of psychological factors and care should focus on preventing sufferers from becoming chronic patients.

Many studies report that chiropractic offers fast, cost-effective benefits for whiplash-injured patients with faster return to work times and higher levels of patient satisfaction.

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 for Whiplash, we would be honored to render our services.

Trigger points in the suboccipitals.

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The suboccipitals are a group or four muscles that attach to the transverse and spinous process of C1 and C2 and the occipital bone.

These muscles provide extension side bending and rotation movements between the occiput and C1 and C2. These muscles are often overloaded due to postural strain. A classic example being sitting in front of a computer all day.

When these muscles are overloaded trigger points can develop. Pain and symptoms of trigger points in the suboccipitals include head pain that penetrates into the skull but is difficult to localize.

Patients are likely to describe the pain as “all over” including the occiput, eye and forehead, but without any clarity. Trigger points in these muscles are often associated with tension head aches

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