Almost everyone experienced trigger points in their lifetime. It is that sore and painful spot that when touched can feel a lot of pain not only in that area but it spreads in other areas as well such as the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Trigger points are found in various body parts, however, the most common area in the entire body are those on the back and neck.
In this article, we are going to talk about what trigger points are especially myofascial pain syndrome on the neck, what causes trigger points, what treatments and tools that can help to manage trigger points, and other routines that we can do to avoid a trigger point.
What are trigger points?
Trigger Points (TrP) are taut bands of muscles that are embedded inside muscles. Trigger points feel sensitive when touched and they can cause painful symptoms on distant parts. It is commonly called a muscle knot. They are sore areas of the soft tissues that cause intense pain. You may be, experiencing regional pain causing reduced motion when this happens, it is called Myofascia Pain Syndrome (MPS). It causes chronic pain with multiple trigger points.
TrPs are usually described in terms of micro cramps, but their science is largely unreliable. These sores have the same appearance as pimples and are often alarmingly fierce. This could also be a major reason to suffer from back and neck pain.
Causes of a trigger point
When you stress your muscles, the soreness will increase and the painful knots that you feel in every movement are a trigger point. If you feel the following, this can cause trigger points:
- muscle strain
- muscle overuse
- injury to muscle fiber
- repetitive motion
- immobilization that results in a lack of muscle activity for some time
- stress and anxiety- According to a study, people who often experience stress and anxiety are likely to develop trigger points in their muscles because they are likely to clench their muscles which results in a repeated strain that leaves muscles to cause trigger points.
Is it possible a problem is caused by a trigger point? Trigger points are often characterized by many bizarre behavior and features which are easily confused with a wide range of other unrecognized causes of pain. There are several commonly used forms of muscular pain symptoms such as arthritis, medication side effects, exercise pain, muscle tears, and the deep body pain caused by infections such as COVID-1958. It’s impossible to tell them all apart without observing the other. Because medical ignorance has become so obscure that it’s often difficult to think of triggers.
Neck trigger points
As we have already learned, trigger points are caused when we strain or put stress on our muscles. A spinal trauma from a car accident or a sports injury may also cause a trigger point. When you are doing routine or repetitive things every day that hurt your spine over some time can also be the cause of a tripper point.
For example, if you are slouching on your desk, you can strain your neck muscles. If you are carrying heavy objects or a heavy handbag, it can burden the muscles on your neck, shoulders, and upper back causing a trigger point. It can also happen during your sleep if you have an unsupported pillow.
Checking if you have a trigger point on the neck
These trigger points have symptoms that you can evaluate at your home, if you have painful knots try the following:
- Trigger points are commonly found in the neck, upper back, and shoulders in the large diamond-shaped trapezius muscle that extends from the base of the skull down to the center of the spine to the middle of the back and above the shoulder blades. If the pain is in these areas, you have a trigger point.
- When you touch a spot of muscles that are a taut band and dense than the surrounding tissue then those are trigger points.
- Press your finger into the muscle knots and if the pressure causes the pain to spread, you may have a trigger point.
Myofascial pain syndrome and trigger points
Imagine cutting off your hand. A knife on the thumb. It can be painful if something is touching the slit or your finger is moving inappropriately. There’s nothing significant. Imagine that the whole finger has tiny cuts. The cuts are so big that they hurt. The cuts are numerous. Almost everyone’s movements cause pain. It is a musculoskeletal condition. You have so many tiny muscles / fascial trigger points, you have to constantly be in pain.
Learning more about myofascial pain syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome occurs when chronic pain affects the muscles and skeletal systems. Generally, the muscle pain resolves within the first week or two after treatment but usually disappears.
However, muscle aches can persist in certain people. When patients have myofascial pain syndrome, sensitive spots are called trigger points. The muscle tissue develops into tangled ropes of muscular muscle (the fascia). If pressure is applied to this trigger, the sensation is felt in different areas of the body. Typical symptoms of MPS are:
- deep aching muscle pain
- regional pain
- persistent pain resulting to reduce the range of motion
- active trigger points
- sleep disturbance or difficulty sleeping
- muscle stiffness
Treatment and tools for trigger point
Trigger point therapy involves the PT bringing pressure to your trigger points. This temporarily blocks the circulation of fluid through the body, increasing the level of nitric oxide. It signals a healthy body to activate the microvascular system and increases blood flow, which will help break down the trigger and stop the pain/pain cycle.
The Myofascial Release technique can also help you relieve muscle tension. Myofascial release has been deemed to be the most effective form of releasing the muscle tissue that surrounds them and helps to correct their alignment of them with each other. This improves the flow of fluid in the muscles.
Physical therapy for a trigger point does not always aim at eliminating your trigger point. Instead, you must learn strategies for managing painful trigger points. It can help relieve pain as well as identify what makes muscle knots painful.
Managing trigger points
There have been many research findings that show no one treatment can cure muscle knot pain. So you must learn to manage your condition, one of these methods is self-massage using hands or using massage tools. Self-massage relieves pain and breaks those muscle spasms and muscle knots or trigger point pain.
Self-care routine to improve trigger points
Getting professional care treatment for your trigger point can be expensive and inconvenient for most of us who are busy balancing our work-life situations so it is wise to do some self-care routine that can help you manage your trigger points.
Trigger Point therapy uses soft tissue to relieve tight knots in your joints. The components of trigger point therapy can include sustained pressure, position correction, or motion correction and can be electrically stimulated like:
- dry needling or massage
- laser therapy
- acupuncture or electric acupuncture stimulating tools
Trigger point therapy offers many benefits in reducing stress. It reduces headaches and muscle tension, but it also increases mobility and flexibility.
Some trigger point therapy and prevention you can try at home includes the following:
- Exercise – Getting your body moving regularly and challenging your muscles can reduce imbalances, improve blood flow, and challenge your muscles.
- Stretching – By stretching every day, you can help keep your muscles strong, increase blood flow, and aid recovery.
- Muscle release – Destroying trigger points by applying specific long-term pressure to yourself or self-massage with different massage tools.
- Proper posture – By paying attention to your posture, you activate the right muscles that help to align your body with its natural alignment, keeping your muscles balanced.
- Hydration and nutrition – Providing your body with appropriate amounts of water and nutrients will help it function and recover better.
- Reduce stress – Decreased stress helps the body relax and makes muscles less prone to tension.
- Breathing – Taking long, deep breaths (diaphragmatic breathing) will help you relax by getting enough oxygen into your body.
Reposepoint’s adjustable six-wheel neck massager tool
Comfortable and effective, the Six-Wheel Neck Massager improves circulation and relieves neck pain to a great degree. It is incredibly effective in reducing muscle tension and improving the function of muscles and preventing muscle weakness.
It boasts a non-slip handle, soft rubber bumpers with double curved lines, and adjustable tension that can be tightened, and loosened, or pressure can be increased if necessary.
Experience fast results with long-term benefits:
- Reduction in overall muscle stiffness and soreness
- Improved mobility and flexibility
- Better sleep and relaxation
- An increase in energy and a positive attitude
- Feel more refreshed and energized
- Improvement in general well-being
Other ways of managing trigger points
The prevalence and perpetuation of chronic overuse or stress injuries on the musculature should be eliminated. Pharmaceutical treatments for musculoskeletal pain include:
- over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol (acetaminophen)
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
- If over-the-counter drugs do not provide relief, a doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants that induce sleep and relax muscles. These patients usually receive antidepressants and neuroleptic and/or nonsteroidal inflammatory medications.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
How do you get trigger points?
Trigger point/muscle knots may occur throughout the body. Occasionally muscle tissue can be tightened or strained, this can trigger the event. Areas of your body in which trigger points can be found: If these trigger points happen too often, you can suffer chronic pain or myofascial pain.
What is a referred pain?
The term “referred pain” refers to pain felt in an area of the body that is different from the area that has been injured or affected. Suppose, for example, that you experience a tension headache but that the pain is caused by an active trigger point in your upper trapezius muscles.
What causes referred pain?
Due to the interconnection between the muscular and nervous systems, referred pain can occur. Several muscles work together and are innervated by nerves located throughout the body. It is possible to feel pain along a nerve’s pathway when an active trigger point in a muscle is close to one, thus causing referred pain. The sciatic nerve, for instance, may be affected by a trigger point in the glute, causing pain to radiate down the leg and into the feet.
What do trigger points feel like?
Trigger Points are a bit of a marble under your face. Many people do not experience any pain if they press the triggers in their bodies. Sometimes trigger points become extremely sensitive and there is s pain in the areas with trigger points.
Why are trigger points so painful?
When muscle tissue has been stretched or injured, it forms painful trigger points. Pressure at trigger points causes shortening and discomfort in muscles. The pain could radiate from the pain to other organs.
How do you release a trigger point in your neck?
Trigger point release treatment involves massaging the region using massage tools or by physical therapists. Using your fingers gently and gradually moving over a golf ball or tennis ball will relieve pain and fatigue. This can often prove difficult in an otherwise confined location close to your upper limb so using a massage tool can help in releasing those trigger points in your neck.
What does it feel like when a trigger point is released?
An affected muscle that was previously tight or knotted may feel more squishy and loose after a trigger point is released. This generally leads to the muscle being able to contract or relax more easily and moving through a wider pain-free range of motion.
What causes trigger point knots?
A muscle strain injury or prolonged muscle tension can create trigger points. For a specific case, a spot on an injured muscle can be an indicator. Moreover, repetitive movements or bad posture can increase your risk. Stress and anxiety.
Is it good to massage trigger points?
Massage helps remove trigger points by pulling in new fluid and clearing away waste materials. It helps relieve some discomfort as it allows oxygen to enter the area.