Headaches and whiplash.

With a whiplash injury the muscles of the neck get overloaded and strained. When this happens trigger points can form in any or all of these muscles. Trigger points in the neck muscles will refer pain into the head and face causing headaches and migraines. These points won’t release with rest, stretching, or rehab exercise. They require a manual technique like trigger point massage for them to resolve.

A whiplash injury can cause a wide variety of symptoms. Myofascial trigger points that form in the muscles of the neck and back as a result of this injury can cause all of these symptoms listed below. For a complete treatment plan for whiplash, trigger points must be released.

Whiplash and soft tissue.

During a whiplash injury the soft tissue in both the front and back of the neck can get damaged. When this happens trigger points will form in the muscles. These points will produce pain, refered pain, as well as stiffness and weakness. Trigger points in the neck muscles quite often refer pain into the head causing headaches and migraine pain. These points don’t resolve with stretching or rehabilitation exercises, they must be specifically released with a technique such as trigger point massage therapy.

Neck pain and the trapezius muscle.

The Trapezius muscle is a large diamond shaped muscle located in the back and neck. It is responsible for for a number of shoulder and neck movements and helps maintain proper posture. This muscle is probably the most common muscle that I work on in the clinic. It is frequently strained and develops trigger points easily. The trigger points in the upper portion of this muscle are the most common to be found in the body. Trigger points will refer pain into the upper back, neck, shoulder, and even into the head and temple causing headaches. Chronic trigger points in this muscle are also a frequent cause of a stiff neck.

Trigger points in the trapezius muscle

The trapezius muscle is a large diamond shaped muscle in your upper and middle back and neck. It it responsible for both shoulder and neck movements. Trigger points in the upper portion of this muscle are the most common points to develop in the body. These trigger points most often occur due to poor posture, such as a slumped sitting posture. Trigger points in the upper portion of the traps will cause pain to refer into the neck, head, and into the temple. These points are one of the most common causes of headaches.

Why trigger point therapy?

People often think of a massage as a relaxing experience, something they might do occasionally, or give as a gift along with a trip to the spa. Trigger point massage therapy is another kind of massage used to treat pain and physical dysfunction. Trigger points can develop in people from all walks of life. They can affect people of all ages, office workers and labourers, elite and weekend athletes, post surgical patients, people with acute pain from injury and people with chronic pain. Trigger point massage therapy can treat a wide variety of physical conditions such as:

– Migraines

– back pain.

– sciatica

– Carple tunnel syndrome

– achy persistent pain

– pain from Fibromyalgia

– post surgical pain and scarring

– soft tissue injuries related to sports

– TMJ dysfunction

Trigger points in the trapezius muscle.

The trapezius muscle or traps is a large diamond shaped muscle located in your back and neck. It is responsible for both neck and shoulder movements as well as stabilizing these areas. Because of this the traps are a very common muscle to become overloaded and strained. When this happens trigger points form in the muscle and cause pain, refered pain, stiffness, and weakness. The upper portion of the muscle is the most common area in the body to develop trigger points. These points refer pain up the neck, behind the ear, and into the temple causing headaches. Trigger points in the lower parts of the muscle will cause shoulder and upper back pain. Trigger points need direct attention to be treated. Otherwise they can out live you!

Myofascial trigger points and pain.

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 point massage

Trigger points are contracted knots in muscles. They form from overload stress causing muscle fibers to become locked together in a self perpetuateing spasm. Trigger points will then produce pain, usually deep achy pain, as well as refered pain. Because of the contraction of the tissue trigger points will also produce stiffness and weakness. Trigger points are also known to mimick other symptoms such as Carple tunnel, and sciatica symptoms. Trigger points are one of, if not the most common cause of pain in the body. Regular massage therapy is not specific or deep enough to release trigger points, a specific technique of applying deep focused pressure to the heart of the knot is required for the point to release. This is called trigger point massage.