Trigger Point Release
In this series we demonstrate how to locate and resolve myofascial trigger points that may be the source of pain or muscle stiffness/restriction. This is work that is easy to do, can cause no harm, and may give you back a freedom from pain and a higher range of motion.
Trigger points are a common source of pain. When palpated they are quite painful, but you may not have realized they were there until pressed on. And, the trigger point location may not, and often isn’t, the same location as the pain. Trigger points are similar to a small “knot” in the muscle fiber, or an adhesion of the fascia to the muscle, therefore restricting the movement of the muscle. These knots can refer pain to a distant location in the body. For example, a trigger point in the muscles of the shoulder can refer pain into the head, creating a mild to severe headache. Or a trigger point just below the knee can be the cause pain in the foot and toes.
Trigger points are created in several ways: Inactivity (sitting or lying too long), muscle tension (such as in jaw clenching, or tightening of the shoulders due to stress), poor posture, injury, heavy lifting, repetitive motion (such as with keyboard use or use of the mouse or in yard work, etc). They can even happen if you wake up suddenly and move quickly, straining an area of a muscle out of sync with the rhythm of the movement. Trigger points, once formed, can be there for years. But, with a few simple steps can be easily resolved, ending years of suffering. It is best to seek them out and resolve them as soon as you feel muscular pain or stiffness.
An active trigger point can cause pain. A latent trigger point is one that doesn’t create constant pain, but will produce muscle stiffness, weakness, restricted movement and a lack of muscle coordination. If you palpate a trigger point it will always be painful, but the symptoms may not be as clearly identified in terms of pain. If you have any of these characteristics, it is well worth your time to explore whether a trigger point is the source of the pain or muscle restriction.