What Is A Trigger Point?
We’ve all experienced sore muscles, sometimes as the result of exertion or exercise and sometimes for no reason we can identify. People often describe trigger points, also known as myofascial trigger points as the feeling of having “knots” in their muscles. These “knots” are actually trigger points. They’re specific spots in the muscles and connective tissue that become irritated. In medical parlance, they are palpable nodules that form in tight bands of muscles or connective tissue — palpable meaning they can be felt.
These bands of muscles fiber become contracted and are unable to release. They can feel dense as if there is a hard knot within the muscle. When the muscle containing a trigger point is activated, pain can result and the pain can radiate beyond the trigger point to other parts of the body.
What Causes Trigger Points?
We have trigger points all over our body and only notice them when we feel pain or discomfort in that area. Trigger points can be dormant, activated when compressed or activated on their own through exercise, chronic tension, or stress. When we overload our muscles through exertion, overuse or repetitive strain, or biomechanical and postural loads it can cause trigger points to form. We notice the result as pain, especially when that pain has radiated out over a wider area.
Trigger points can be dormant, with the pain becoming an issue when they are activated due to exertion, exercise, or stress. Different therapies are available depending on the diagnosis. Therapists are able to palpate and find trigger points in the body and then release them, thereby deactivating them. Even one treatment focusing on trigger point release can produce results. Determining what some of the aggravating factors are so they can be minimized is an important part of the healing process.
After deactivating trigger points, it’s important to elongate the affected area though its natural range of motion and length to minimize the chance of a recurrence. For muscles this usually involves stretching. Self treatment using trigger point balls, massage rollers and foam rollers has also become popular.
Trigger Point Injections
Injections without anesthetics such as saline can provide relief. This technique is referred to as dry needling. Injection of local anesthetic such as novocaine and even botulinum toxin can also be effective when massage and physiotherapy fail to provide relief. Acupuncture may be effective as well, as there is evidence that the vast majority of trigger points correspond to traditional acupuncture points.
How Apex Can Help
If you’ve been experiencing muscle pain after exercise, exertion or stress those “knots” in your muscles may be trigger points that can be effectively treated. Call us for an appointment and we’ll determine the course of treatment that’s best for you. Your treatment could involve: