Trigger points are often a big source of chronic pain. They are an indicator of some form of physiological dysfunction. In other words, something is happening such as: injury, poor posture, or repetitive improper movements. Trigger points are essentially hard spots of chronically contracted muscle. Pain from trigger points also causes radiating pain far beyond the actual trigger point. Latent trigger points restrict motion causing restricted movements which causes the body to develop compensating movements for the pain or tightness. Compensating over and over again creates more injury.
How Do Trigger Points Affect the Body?
Most people suffer from trigger points across the shoulders and upper back due to issues originating from chronic overuse of desks and devices as well as decreased movement in general. Headaches and joint instability are also generally rooted in trigger points. Overworked muscle systems performing movements they were not designed to do will eventually burn out which is part of how trigger points contribute to spinal degeneration.
How Are Trigger Points Treated?
There are a variety of ways to treat trigger points and your skilled practitioner, like a chiropractor Shawnee KS trusts, will know the best method of release and extension of the muscle that is best for you. Common treatments are simple and effective such as applying pressure until the muscle releases, then stretching through the full range of the muscle. The right physiotherapist or chiropractor will know just the right amount of pressure needed to release the muscle since too much pressure causes more tension. This is different and more specialized than a deep tissue massage, although some massage therapists so release trigger points.
Beyond Trigger Point Release
Simply applying pressure to release the trigger point is not the end of the story, however. Your practitioner will likely do stretching after trigger point therapy and suggest rehab therapy to help correct improper movements that are causing the trigger points. Just like any other aspect of your wellness, understanding and correcting the root cause of the pain is always going to be the most effective form of treatment. By learning how to correct improper movements causing your pain, and adding stretches to maintain good range of motion, it is possible to relieve tremendous amounts of pain without drugs and expensive surgeries. Chronic, systemic inflammation is also a contributing factor to trigger points that is often overlooked. Inflammation damages all tissues in the body and fascia tissue is no different. Body tissues cannot adapt, heal, and remain resilient in the face of constant inflammation. People with aggressive and/or excessive trigger point issues need to also consider how lifestyle factors may be affecting their pain. This includes the foods you eat, sleep quality, stress levels, relational health, and level of toxic load.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from LifeWorks Integrative Health for their insight into trigger points.