If you have been to the chiropractor, many times he or she may say that you have a “trigger point” in your neck, low back or a certain muscular area that is causing you pain. A trigger point is defined a tender point that is hyper irritable- deep within the muscle that is painful when you press on it. It may cause pain else where when you press and create other sensations in different places. These myofascial trigger points are a common cause of pain in the neck.
A trigger point develops when there is a localized shortening of piece of the muscle fiber, rather than returning to its normal size. This shortening of the muscle fiber can be felt as a “taut” or tight band and the muscle remains tightened. Often times, in the area of the trigger point there is a disruption in the blood supply causing less oxygen and energy to get to that area.
How does a trigger point develop? A trigger point can develop when there is trauma to that area of the muscle, a muscle strain, sustained tension, overwork, hormonal or nutritional changes and joint dysfunction.
How does one treat a painful trigger point? There are many treatments for trigger points. Trigger point therapy often involves compression of the tender area for a few seconds to minutes (also known as ischemic compression). Other treatments include: soft tissue mobilization, stretches, friction technique, massage, spray and stretch technique, using a tens unit and home exercises .