Trigger Points Guide: How To Deal With Them

What Are Trigger Points?

The term trigger points (myofascial trigger point) was first used by American Physician Dr. Janet Travell in 1942. She wrote many papers on trigger points that are still considered to be some of the most detailed resources on the subject to date.

Lots of research has been carried out to figure out exactly what trigger points are and what constitutes them. There aren’t any definite answers as the opinions of practitioners differ on this. The word myofascial means: muscle (myo) and fascia (fascia) would suggest that trigger points are located within skeletal muscle.

Trigger Points At Back

According to the theory of Dr. Janet Travell, trigger points are described as hyperirritable spots in the fascia surrounding skeletal muscle. Stating in another way, Trigger points are tender spots which trigger pain and discomfort.

We all experience this tender or sore spots at one time or the other, mostly in the lower back and shoulder and neck region. Patients usually experience problems with stubborn and unexplained aching and stiffness. It can be centered on a single muscle or muscle group, and the pain is normally persistent and can worsen over time.

Causes & Symptoms Of Trigger Points

Body Trigger Points
The major causes of trigger points include but not limited to:
  • Injury
  • Excessive strain on a particular muscle group.
  • Repetitive movements
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of activity
  • Habitually poor posture due to our sedentary lifestyles
Myofascial trigger points are an extremely common cause of pain. Trigger points are painful when pressed upon, cause a shortening of the muscle fibers. Trigger points have a special property called referred pain – which means a trigger point can create pain in other areas.
Symptoms include:
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Deep pain localize in the muscle
  • Stiffness of the joint near the pain site
  • Pains that worsens over time
  • Difficulty sleeping

What Are The Disadvantages Of Trigger Points ?

The effects of trigger points can be complicated and serious. Because they can factor into common medical complaints like aches and pains. They are also key factors in headaches, neck pain, back pain, should pain and much more.

Myofascial Release Therapy

Trigger points majorly affect the body in the following ways:

  • Cause pain:

Trigger Points causes pain directly. Trigger points are a natural part of muscle tissue, and just as everyone gets pimples, it’s most likely that one experiences trigger points sooner or later.

  • Complicates other pains:

Trigger point complicates injuries and other common pain one experiences like aches. They make other pains worse and could eventually overshadow them. Areas close to triggering points may experience referred pain.

  • Imitates other problems:

Trigger points mimic the symptoms of other common pains experienced in the body. Often escaping unsuspecting health professional during diagnostics.

Foam Roller to Heal Trigger Points

How To Deal With Trigger Points?

Anxiety, stress and fatigue are common signs of the body being overworked. The body reacts to this by tightly contracting the muscles and eventually, bands or knots form in the muscle tissues which cannot release on their own. These painfully tight spots are known as trigger points. Trigger points can transfer pain to other parts of the body and result in fatigue and insomnia. If these trigger points are not released, they worsen over time and may result in functional problems.

Most persons believe the solution to stress-related trigger points is a professional massage. However, there is no point spending hundreds of dollars on a professional massage when you can do so with a foam roller. With the right tools and only 15 minutes a day, you can relieve stress-related trigger points, release your muscles and sleep better at night.

Foam rollers come in a variety of materials and sizes. Foam rollers either come soft or hard. Soft foam rollers work on the superficial muscles while hard foam rollers work deeper into the muscle tissue. Long foam rollers can work the full length of the spine while short foam rollers work well for mobility exercises. Good foam rollers are textured to mimic the feeling of a massage therapist’s hand.

Myofascial Release For Trigger Points

To release trigger points, below are some simple exercise which you can do:

To perform a spine roll release, lay a roller along the length of your spine with your pelvis and head positioned comfortably on top of the roller. Place your arms on your sides, using the ground for stabilization and gently rock from side to side, allowing the roller to massage the muscles and ligaments on either side of the spine.
To perform a mid/upper back release, lay on the floor with the roller positioned just under your shoulder blades. With your hands behind your head to support your neck muscles, gently roll backwards and forwards, stopping every few inches to target all the muscles of the upper back.
This exercise helps relieve pressure from the muscles in the shoulders and upper back and helps in releasing trigger points.
To perform this exercise, lay with the foam roller under your neck like a pillow and turn your head gently from side to side in a “no” motion. This action will control and stabilize the group of muscles found under the head and releasing these muscles can provide relief from chronic pains and headaches.
To perform this pose, kneel on the ground with your arms outstretched in front of you, place the foam roller in front of you under your wrists in a hands and knees position and slowly, roll the arms forward while pushing the glutes back towards the heels into child’s pose. Repeat this process over and over again.
To perform this pose, sit on the floor with one leg bent in front of the body with the opposite leg extended backwards and the toes pointed. Position the foam roller in front of the hips with your palms on the roller. Repeat this motion over and over.
Here is our previous blog to guide you about “how to use a foam roller?“. Check it out for more information.
By | 2017-08-23T07:53:45+00:00 August 23rd, 2017|Others|

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