Why are my muscles tender to poke and what are myofascial trigger points?
Myofascial Trigger Points What is a Myofascial Trigger Point? Myofascial = Myo + Fascia Myo = Muscle Fascia = the connective tissue that sits below the skin, connecting organs, bones, tendons and, of course, muscles. Every structure of the human body is encased in a sleeve of connective fascia. Trigger Point = officially defined as “A highly irritable localized spot of exquisite tenderness in a nodule in a palpable taut band of skeletal muscle” by Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons, who developed the treatment methods for Myofascial Trigger Points. By putting all of the terms listed above together, you can see that a Myofascial Trigger Point, is a tender and tight band of muscle which extends to involve the fascia that wraps around it. But why are these painful? The connective fascia, that is wrapped around the muscle, contains a very fine network of peripheral nerves. All nerves work by transmitting any signal received along its length (how the brain tells your muscles to contract and relax), therefore, if a Trigger Point within the muscle compromises the surrounding fascia is has an impact on the nerves within. This is called referred pain. Referred Pain? The most well-known examples of referred pain are the jaw and arm pain described when someone suffers a heart attack, or shoulder pain felt when someone suffers appendicitis. Referred pain from a Myofascial Trigger Point is not so severe, but is produced in a similar manner. Therefore, the network of nerves within the fascia refer the pain of the Myofascial Trigger Point to other areas of the body. Over years of research and treatment, these referred pains have been mapped and recorded, enabling Chiropractors now to recognise the patterns and presentations of Myofascial Tripper Point referral pain.
Why do Trigger Points form? There are lots of reasons a Trigger Point can form, but they most commonly caused by a muscle being in a compromised position for a prolonged period of time, for example: - Poor posture, such as Upper Crossed Syndrome (see previous blog), rounded shoulders, slouched standing or seated position etc. - Ergonomic or Occupational stressors - Driving Position - Scoliosis - Hypermobile Joints - Poor form when lifting or carrying - Previous Injury - Chronic Vitamin or Mineral deficiencies - Hypothyroidism - Reaction to medication How Painful is a Myofascial Trigger Point? There is a very wide variation in how painful or debilitating a Myofascial Trigger Point can be. Generally, Myofascial Trigger Points are considered to be either Active or Latent. Active Myofascial Trigger Points cause pain during day-to-day activities, when the affected muscle is used, or in more severe/chronic cases, when the body is at rest. Latent Myofascial Trigger Points, cause pain when they are compressed or manipulated, and therefore are genereally less painful than Active Myofascial Trigger Points. Can they be treated? Yes. Both our Chiropractors at Ashwood, are fully qualified in both diagnosing, and treating Active and Latent Myofascial Trigger Points, as well as getting to the route of their cause. The theory behind the treatment methods can be further explained by your chiropractor, but treatment will essentially involve Deep Tissue Massage, Ischemic Compression (applying pressure to the Myofascial Trigger Point), passive and active Stretches, and IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation, involving foam rollers, trigger point balls and Rockblades, among others). For any enquiries or bookings, please contact the clinic, either via this website, or give us a call on 02921 990255.