Many people have muscle pain - it's one of the most common things we all experience at some stage in our lives. Some of you, though, may have had muscle pain for years and all the experts you have seen have not been able to explain it or help you. There is, however, an explanation for muscle pain that's not so well known...Myofascial Trigger Points.
Most people have them (though they may not be active). They can cause shooting pain, dull aching pain, and stiffness. And if you have an active trigger point, all the anti-inflammatory pills, exercises - even surgery won't do you any good.
What is a Trigger Point? The basic definition is a very small area of spasm within your muscle. The trigger point can be latent (not in spasm, but with that potential - like a dormant volcano) or active (spasmed and painful).
Trigger points can radiate pain throughout your body or in a specific location. It all depends on the type and number of trigger points that you have. Two things to note:
- Trigger Points do not cause damage. They are painful, but they don't actually damage your muscles, or the surrounding area, and,
- You can switch off Trigger Points without medication, surgery or expensive equipment.
When you have a trigger point it pulls a thin band of taut muscle which runs the length of the muscle fiber. And when you're looking for triggers, this feels like a guitar string within the bulk of your muscle.
Trigger points act like a gun - when the gun is fired, the bullet causes pain elsewhere. Similarly, when a trigger point is activated, it sets off a pain pattern - sometimes causing pain far from the site of the trigger.
Each pain pattern is specific to that trigger point. There are hundreds of triggers scattered around the body. Remarkably, each trigger point pattern has been shown to be consistent over thousands of people.
Trigger Point releases - when done correctly - should not hurt.
When you stress a muscle, it automatically tightens up - as a protective reflex. This is part of what causes trigger points in the first place. So doing trigger point releases that cause your muscles to tighten up is like trying to lift a chair you're sitting on. You're working against yourself.
Trigger points are a misguided message. They are like a security alarm that's been switched ON - and hasn't been switched OFF. Some people have been suffering for a short time to years with the pain with the ON switch.
Some traditional ways of relieving muscle pain that don't work:
- stretching your muscles. This doesn't work because your muscles are in spasm and will continue to be in spasm until the trigger points are switched OFF. Stretching muscles with trigger points is like pulling harder on a knot - you just make it tighter. Stretch after the trigger point is released.
- traditional massage can be helpful, but only if the therapist is actually putting pressure on the trigger points.
- anti-inflammatory gels and pills may relieve some pain but trigger points are not in fact inflammation - so these are not effective.
If you have been diagnosed with some type of muscle pain with no relief, Trigger Point Therapy may be beneficial for you. Contact me to see if Trigger Point Therapy will work for you.