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.

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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.

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.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia, although often misdiagnosed and misunderstood, is the second most common musculoskeletal disorder behind osteoarthritis. The condition affects nearly 12 million Americans and is ten times more common in women.

The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made when a certain set of symptoms has been present for at least three months. The most common symptoms include wide-spread muscle and joint pain, achiness or soreness- especially in the neck, shoulders, back, and hips. Your muscles may constantly feel overworked and tired. Fibromyalgia patients often exhibit a set of predictable “tender points” spread throughout the body. Some patients have trouble sleeping and feel as though they are in a “brain fog” most of the day. This can lead to fatigue or mood changes, like anxiety and depression.


Stress is a known contributor to fibromyalgia, and patients should seek ways to de-stress, including yoga or meditation. Fibromyalgia patients should minimize their caffeine intake, as this is a known stimulant for nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia. Breathing exercises are sometimes helpful.

Although your sleep may be restless, you should try to establish a bedtime routine that gives your body the best chance for recovery. Try to avoid late night electronics, like the television or computer. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, cool, and distraction-free. Be sure to take time for yourself each day for relaxation or to do something you enjoy. Combat “brain fog” by carrying a notebook or a phone to make notes for important things. Some patients report decreased muscle tightness by applying moist heat or a taking warm bath. The American Pain Society recommends conservative treatment, including chiropractic, along with moderate aerobic exercise.

What Is Upper Crossed Syndrome?

Your posture plays an important role in your overall health. Poor posture leads to chronic strain and discomfort. “Upper crossed syndrome” describes poor posture that results from excessive tightness in your shoulders and chest with weakness in your neck and mid-back. This combination forces your shoulders to roll inward and your head to project forward.

To help understand how upper crossed syndrome causes trouble, think of your spine as a telephone pole and your head as a bowling ball that sits on top. When the bowling ball is positioned directly over the top of the upright post, very little effort is required to keep it in place. If you tip the post forward and the ball begins to roll over the edge of the post, significantly more effort would be required from the muscles trying to hold it there. This effort results in chronic strain of the muscles of your neck and upper back.

The chronic strain is uncomfortable and may also lead to neck pain, upper back pain, headaches, TMJ pain, and ultimately- arthritis. This postural problem is exceptionally common in computer workstation users. Correction of this problem is accomplished by stretching the tight muscles, strengthening weak muscles, and modifying your workstation.

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.

CTS Warning Signs

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Headaches are REALLY common! In fact, two out of three children will have a headache by the time they are fifteen years old, and more than 90% of adults will experience a headache at some point in their life. It appears safe to say that almost ALL of us will have firsthand knowledge of what a headache is like sooner or later!

Certain types of headaches run in families (due to genetics), and headaches can occur during different stages of life. Some have a consistent pattern, while others do not. To make this even more complicated, it’s not uncommon to have more than one type of headache at the same time!

Headaches can vary in frequency and intensity, as some people can have several headaches in one day that come and go, while others have multiple headaches per month or maybe only one or two a year. Headaches may be continuous and last for days or weeks and may or may not fluctuate in intensity.

For some, lying down in a dark, quiet room is a must. For others, life can continue on like normal. Headaches are a major reason for missed work or school days as well as for doctor visits. The “cost” of headaches is enormous—running into the billions of dollars per year in the United States (US) in both direct costs and productivity losses. Indirect costs such as the potential future costs in children with headaches who miss school and the associated interference with their academic progress are much more difficult to calculate.

There are MANY types of headaches, which are classified into types. With each type, there is a different cause or group of causes. For example, migraine headaches, which affect about 12% of the US population (both children and adults), are vascular in nature—where the blood vessels dilate or enlarge and irritate nerve-sensitive tissues inside the head. This usually results in throbbing, pulsating pain often on one side of the head and can include nausea and/or vomiting. Some migraine sufferers have an “aura” such as a flashing or bright light that occurs within 10-15 minutes prior to the onset while other migraine sufferers do not have an aura.

The tension-type headache is the most common type and as the name implies, is triggered by stress or some type of tension. The intensity ranges between mild and severe, usually on both sides of the head and often begin during adolescence and peak around age 30, affecting women slightly more than men. These can be episodic (come and go, ten to fifteen times a month, lasting 30 min. to several days) or chronic (more than fifteen times a month over a three-month period).

There are many other types of headaches that may be primary or secondary—when caused by an underlying illness or condition. The GOOD news is chiropractic care is often extremely helpful in managing headaches of all varieties and should be included in the healthcare team when management requires a multidisciplinary treatment approach.