What Are Trigger Points?
A trigger point refers to a particular spot or point in a muscle that creates referral pain 😞 in another part of your body. For example, a trigger point in your neck could cause pain in the side of your head – we call this referral pain. Usually, the pain is made worse when you press 👇 on the trigger point.
Trigger points can also be a tender point in your muscle that radiates throughout the muscle and tissue which causes myofascial pain – a fancy description for a condition where you feel pain and tenderness in certain areas of your body.
What Do Trigger Points Feel Like?
Trigger points are quite common 🤔 and can happen in any muscle in your body.
You can actually feel some trigger points. When you touch them, they feel like knots in the muscles.
The muscles that often develop trigger points are in your head and neck area, which can lead to other symptoms like headaches, or your buttock area which can mimic sciatica!
What Causes Trigger Points?
The causes of trigger points vary, sometimes there’s a specific reason, other times it can seem as if they develop out of nowhere. In our practice, most of our patients’ trigger points are caused by:
- Injury, either recent or long-term.
- Lack of exercise or exercising 🏋️♀️ incorrectly.
- Poor posture
- Repetitive stress caused by tightening up the muscles to guard and protect ourselves
- Repetitive movements from the work we do or the hobbies or sports we play.
How Do You Treat Trigger Points?
Trigger points don’t usually heal on their own. There are two main ways you can treat trigger points: massage therapy and chiropractic care.
Massage therapy 💆♀️ works wonders for trigger points by encouraging fresh oxygenated blood 🩸 into your muscle and flushing out any waste material 🗑 or toxins that could be in the muscle. Massage brings more oxygen to the area and encourages the muscles to release, which in turn relieves any pain or discomfort 😊. There isn’t a specific type of massage that is specifically developed for trigger points, but massage therapists can use a variety of techniques to loosen knots, muscles, and surrounding connective tissue.
As chiropractors, we have a range of techniques we can use to treat trigger points, but the one we use most frequently to treat this painful condition is trigger point therapy. Trigger point therapy starts by finding your trigger points and then gently 🤗 applying a little pressure to release them. The goal of trigger point therapy is to improve blood circulation to the trigger zone, to stretch any bands of muscle that have become tight, and release surrounding connective tissue. Our massage therapists offer trigger point therapy too!
Dry Needling can also be used by many of our chiropractors at Inspired Health. This is a form of acupuncture that works straight on the trigger point to break down tension and relieve pain.
How Can I Prevent Trigger Points?
As mentioned above, trigger points can develop from a variety of causes. But there are some things you can do to prevent trigger points or avoid worsening existing trigger points.
- Regular exercise: Gentle exercise 🏃♂️ is vital to keeping your muscles loose and stopping them from seizing or freezing.
- Improving your posture: Sitting 🪑 and standing 🧍♀️ incorrectly for long periods of time can affect just about every aspect of your health.
- Get good quality sleep: Sleep 😴 plays a big role in your body’s ability to heal and restore itself. Poor sleep quality can cause and worsen trigger points.
- Stretch regularly: Always be sure to stretch 🧘♀️ before and after exercising or playing a sport. By stretching regularly, you’re keeping your muscles healthy and less likely to develop issues later on.
- Manage your stress levels: Stress 🤯 causes tension and tension can result in trigger points. Learn effective ways to manage your stress to prevent it from causing physical problems.
If you suspect you may have developed a trigger point and would like to book a massage therapy or chiropractic care appointment, email 📧 us at email@example.com or call ☎ us on 01245 699 152.