Most people have heard the words ’trigger points’ whether it be from your massage therapist, your dentist or google doctor; it is a common household term. They are a real thing and a real issue for 75-95% of people with muscular pain. With chronic pain or long lasting pain there are always changes and compensations that occur within the tissue locally and remotely. Sometimes these changes are in protection so no more trauma occurs or continues to occur and sometimes they develop to allow postures to continue, either way they exist.
In the 1940’s Dr Janet Travel began treating them as myofascial trigger points. Her biggest story was when she began treating John F Kennedy for a slew of health and mechanical issues. He considered her treatments a ‘profound success’ and later hired her as his personal physician as the President of the United States. Her research has continued to be proven and supported which is why there are now an array of treatments and techniques.
Trigger points are described as intensely painful sites that often occur as a nodule or tight band within a muscle, a point that will refer and radiate pain in a specific distribution. These points are often chronic and create a constant pattern of pain like in a headache caused by neck pain or arm pain caused by a knot in the shoulder blade area.
Trigger point therapy covers a multitude of techniques used by most if not all therapists. They include manual therapies used with pressure and modalities to active release techniques using stretching. Many techniques are highly effective with controlling pain and allowing relief, however there is a high probability of recurrence. This is where trying to figure out why and when the trigger point occurred and correcting that issue as well.
Lastly, few people will love without ever having experienced muscle pain as a result of trauma, injury or an overuse strain. Most of these issues will resolve in a few weeks to a few months but occasionally the muscle pain will persist long after the injury has healed.