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.

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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.

What are trigger points.

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.

Trigger points in the upper traps.

One of the most common issues that I treat on a daily basis is trigger points in the upper traps. The trapezius muscle or “traps” is a large diamond shaped muscle located in you back and neck. The upper portion of this muscle is one on the most common areas to become strained due to poor posture or emotional stress. When this

happens trigger points are sure to develop. These points will cause pain to be felt up the neck, behind the ear, and traveling to the temple. Trigger points in the upper traps are one of the most common causes of headache pain, as well as a stiff neck.

The subscapularis can harbor up to three trigger points, with the two most common occurring near the outside edge of the muscle. … Referred pain from trigger points in the subscapularis muscle concentrates in the posterior shoulder region, with spillover into shoulder blade region and down the back of the upper arm.

Piriformis syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is caused by a tight contracted piriformis muscle putting pressure on the sciatic nerve causing symptoms of tingling, numbness, and altered sensation. This muscle is often tight in people who sit for long periods of time. A common cause of this muscle being contracted and tight are trigger points. These trigger points are contracted knots within the belly of the muscle. These knots cause the muscle to become shortened. Trigger points will also cause pain on their own. This is usually felt as a deep achy pain in the glute and hip area, as well as in the back of the leg.

The rectus femoris muscle is one of your quad muscles. It acts primarily to extend the knee but it also helps to flex the hip. This muscle is often overloaded from athletic activity, but it also can become chronically shortened from prolonged sitting. Trigger points will refer pain deep into the knee producing a deep ache felt into the joint.