WHAT ARE TRIGGER POINTS?
Trigger points or muscle “knots” are sensitive spots in soft tissue, and too many of them can cause “myofascial pain syndrome.” They are usually described as micro-cramps, due to the non-voluntary contracture of the muscle. These sore spots are as common as pimples, and can grow like weeds around injuries if left untreated. This is due to the recruiting process of other muscles that are injured. In turn though, however, the recruiting muscles form their own trigger points.
Similar to how a heart attack can cause left shoulder pain, a trigger point can cause outside of the knot itself. For example, the neck flexors (i.e. sternocleidomastoid) can cause pain around the eye and headaches, because it attaches to the spot just behind the ear. It important to not overlook this condition when considering more severe conditions as this ailment is very easy to treat.
SHOULDER TRIGGER POINTS
TPs around the shoulder are very common. Among the top reasons though is the amount of Stress or constant tension being “held” in the muscles. For example, when we’re under stress, we will instinctively raise our shoulders and go into fight or flight response. This doesn’t just go away when we’re out of the scenario, but rather lingers and causes chronic tight muscles. You’ll be amazed where you’re holding muscle tension once someone starts poking around.
Trigger point therapy is a common term used to describe to eliminate them. This can take the many forms, but the end goal is the same. Graston technique is a great therapy which not only treats trigger points, but uncovers them as well. Please see the therapies offered tab for more information about Graston technique. Chiropractic adjustment can play a driving force in the correction due to the ability to increase range of motion. When a muscle is allowed to stretch more freely, the process in which trigger points form are eliminated. Ergonomics can play a big factor in the prevention of this ailment as chronic stress and repetitive motion disorder are the most common reason that trigger points form in the first place.
Heat is a common at home therapy, but should only be used with the understanding that it will likely not get rid of the knot. Muscles are like Rubber Bands. They stretch and become more flexible when heated. However, they will return to the normal position when they cool. Therapies such as Graston technique, rapid release and massage therapy can permanently address the knot and the prevention of more. It is usually advised that ice is applied to the area at least 2x daily in 15min intervals after therapy.