Myofascial trigger point massage, also known as trigger points, are described as hyperirritable spots in the fascia surrounding skeletal muscle. They are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers. Compression of a trigger point may elicit local tenderness, referred pain, or local twitch response and has a referred pain pattern. The local twitch response is not the same as a muscle spasm. This is because a muscle spasm refers to the entire muscle contracting whereas the local twitch response also refers to the entire muscle but only involves a small twitch, no contraction.
The word myofascial means muscle tissue (myo) and the connective tissue in and around it (fascia). Myofascial pain often results from muscle injury or repetitive strain. When stressed or injured, muscles often form trigger points, like contracted knots, that cause pain and tightness.
Muscles make up between 36-42% of body weight, on average. They are a large percentage of our total weight and have a corresponding impact on our health. When all is in working order, muscles allow us to perform normal activities with ease. When our muscles harbor trigger points, we experience pain, stiffness and tension, physical limitation and loss of normal function.
Factors commonly cited as predisposing to trigger point formation include but are not limited to: de-conditioning, poor posture, repetitive mechanical stress, mechanical imbalance (e.g. leg length inequality), joint disorders, non-restorative sleep and vitamin deficiencies.
A diagnosis of Myofascial Pain Syndrome or Chronic Myofascial Painmeans that the primary source of your symptoms are from these myofascial trigger points. Often, trigger points are present secondary to other sources of pain, such as arthritis or bulging discs. The trigger points may actually be causing the painful symptoms attributed to with these conditions. As such, arthritis or bulging discs. The trigger points may actually be causing the painful symptoms attributed to with these conditions.
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Rotator cuff (shoulder) pain
- Jaw pain (TMJD)
- Tennis elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hand and arm pain
- Repetitive Strain Injuries
- Pelvic pain
- Hip pain
- “Sciatic” pain (buttock and leg pain)
- Leg and knee pain
- Plantar fascitis (foot) pain
- Disc pain (bulge/rupture/herniation) and radiculopathy
- Frozen shoulder
How Trigger Points Are Formed
The damage to muscle and connective tissue which results in trigger points can occur several ways. It can happen as the result of:
- Repetitive overuse injuries (using the same body parts in the same way hundreds of times on a daily basis) from activities such as typing/mousing, handheld electronics, gardening, home improvement projects, work environments, etc.
- Sustained loading as with heavy lifting, carrying babies, briefcases, boxes, wearing body armor or lifting bedridden patients.
- Habitually poor posture due to our sedentary lifestyles, de-conditioning and poorly designed furniture
- Muscle clenching and tensing due to mental/emotional stress.
- Direct injury such as a blow, strain, break, twist or tear. Think car accidents, sports injuries, falling down stairs and the like.
- Surprisingly, trigger points can even develop due to inactivity such as prolonged bed rest or sitting
Click this link for a Myofascial Trigger Point Symptom Checker
What are Trigger Point Injections
( must be done by a MD specialist )
In the TPI procedure, a health care professional (MD) inserts a small needle into the patient’s trigger point. The injection contains a local anesthetic or saline, and may include a corticosteroid. With the injection, the trigger point is made inactive and the pain is alleviated.
The Scientific Basis of Myofascial Trigger Points
(Simons) Myofascial Pain Syndrome Due To Trigger Points
Trigger Point Books
Collection of Trigger Point Images
*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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