One of the most common forms of pain I see in my practice is neck and shoulder pain. Many people have jobs that require the muscles of the neck and upper back to work overtime to keep proper neck posture. Sitting in front of a computer all day or being stuck in a car or truck for example will eventually cause these muscles to become strained and develop trigger points. These trigger points will then cause pain, referred pain, stiffness and weakness. Neck and upper back trigger points will refer pain into the neck and head.
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder. In this condition, pressure on sensitive points in your muscles (trigger points) causes pain in the muscle and sometimes in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. This is called referred pain.
This syndrome typically occurs after a muscle has been contracted repetitively. This can be caused by repetitive motions used in jobs or hobbies or by stress-related muscle tension.
Signs and symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome may include:
- Deep, aching pain in a muscle
- Pain that persists or worsens
- A tender knot in a muscle
- Difficulty sleeping due to pain
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.
The gluteus maximus muscle is a major player in hip extension. Despite its involvement in walking, running, skating, and pretty much all types of upright movement it remains largely undeveloped in most bodies. This Lak of strength sets it up for overload injuries like trigger points and myofascial pain. These trigger points not only cause glute and hip pain but are also a common source of sacral pain as well. The best prevention for these problems is strong glutes!!! So stop sitting on your butt, and start strengthening it with resistance training.
now that the winter is here and the roads are slippery, whiplash injuries becomes very common. Most people think of their spine and head when dealing with whiplash, but the muscles of the neck and upper back are always affected as well. Muscles in the neck will develop trigger points from the violent whipping motion of the head that occurs with this injury. Left unchecked these points will continue to produce pain, stiffness and weakness. Trigger points in the neck are one of the most common sources of headache pain. Make sure you are getting the soft tissue treated as well as the spine if you are recovering from a whiplash injury.