OK – so what is a Trigger Point? A trigger point (TP) may form when a muscle becomes stressed or injured, resulting in a hyper-irritable spot that can cause pain. Have you ever pressed on a specific spot on a muscle and felt what feels like a ‘knot’ or a ‘tight band’? This may well be a TP. These spots can vary in size and have been described as a ‘tiny lump’, ‘little peas’, ‘large lumps’ and ‘rope-like bands lying next to each other’. Factors that can influence their formation include: -
They are also able to refer pain, i.e a TP in one muscle can create pain in another. A good example of this referred pain is from the upper trapezius muscle. What do most people associate with stress? Usually tension in the muscles of the upper shoulders and up the back of the neck. Upper trapezius TP’s can refer pain to the base of the skull, around the back of the ear and to the temple region. Got a headache that feels like it’s at the back of the eye? Could be from a muscle at the top of the shoulder!
Although several classifications of TP exist, after forming there are two distinct phases: Active and Latent.
Active TP hurts when pressed and can cause pain to the surrounding area. This discomfort may feel like a dull, deep ache – often unrelenting and debilitating – a pressing or burning pain, or a sensation of numbness and fatigue. If not addressed, compensation patterns may develop causing other muscles to become dysfunctional.
Latent (or inactive) TP’s can lie quietly within a muscle and develop anywhere in the body, are not painful and do not cause any referred pain. Latent trigger points can cause restricted movement, distorted muscle movement patterns and stiffness/weakness of the affected muscle.
The aim of TP is to alter the chemical reaction within the muscle that has caused it to spasm. This can be achieved by applying direct pressure to the area: releasing the tension which, in turn, reduces/removes local pain, referred pain and muscular dysfunction.
Book your TP Therapy session today on 01323 325051