Research by Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons, has shown that trigger points are the primary cause of pain at least 75 percent of the time and are a factor in nearly every painful condition. This makes sense considering that muscles make up between about roughly 40% of body weight. 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. However, when our muscles harbor trigger points, we experience pain, stiffness and tension, physical limitation and subsequently a loss of normal function.
What are Trigger Points?
Myofascial (muscle- or sinew-related) trigger points are an extremely common cause of pain. Trigger points are often referred to or felt as ‘knots’ in the muscle. Although they can arise anywhere there is muscle, they are very common in the neck, shoulder, and upper back area. They can be the result of many different things, such as a subluxated (misaligned) bone, physical trauma to the body, repetitive stress or posture, or even emotional stress. Surprisingly, trigger points can also develop due to inactivity such as prolonged bed rest or sitting.
Trigger Points and Referred Pain
Trigger points are painful when pressed on, cause a shortening of the muscle fibers, and have a special property called referred pain. Referred pain means that a trigger point in one muscle can create pain in another area.
For instance, you may have pain in your elbow that is caused by a trigger point in your shoulder, your forearm muscles, or in the triceps. A trigger point in the peroneus muscle (which is at the outside of the lower leg and makes the foot move down and outward) will cause pain in the ankle, not at the side of the leg where the muscle is. Trigger points in the quads will make your knees hurt. And trigger points in the calves will usually cause pain under your foot. Referred pain is mediated through spinal cord mechanisms.
Trigger Points May Vary According to Your Lifestyle
In athletes, most chronic pain issues are of myofascial origin. This is not surprising, since athletes tend to use their muscles and sinews much harder than the average population.
The trigger points that athletes are likely to experience differ according to their sport, since different muscles are involved in the movement patterns and requirements of different activities. For example: Elbow pain (tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow), would be referred from a variety of muscles, most notably the triceps, the muscles of the upper forearm, the scalene muscles in the side of the neck, and some shoulder muscles
Treatment for Trigger Points in Augusta GA
Regardless of what causes the trigger point, there are very effective treatments to help alleviate them. At Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic we have found to be the most effective way to treat is to not only address the muscle itself, but also the bone to which the muscle attaches. Through a variety of muscle treatment techniques, we can relieve muscular adhesions. After that, we make sure that the muscle is functioning well. It is then vital to address the skeletal component.
Since muscles attach to bones, when they get tight and ‘knot’ up they pull bones out of their proper alignment. By making sure that the bones are aligned and the muscles working properly, we have great results in treating trigger points for our patients. It is also vital to see what may be the causative factor and remove or fix that as well (whether that is a workstation setup, poor posture, or stress that can be improved.)
Trigger points are certainly painful, but certainly treatable with our specialized techniques. As one of the few Chiropractors in Augusta GA that are able to provide treatments tailored for trigger points, we welcome you to schedule a complimentary consultation to find out if your condition would be a candidate for our customized treatments.
The Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic Blog is written by Dr. Mark Huntsman.
Augusta GA Chiropractor Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic provides customized chiropractic care. Visit our main website at www.georgia-clinic.com for a chiropractor in Augusta GA and a chiropractor in Evans GA that specializes in customized treatments.
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