What are Trigger Points?
In 1942 Dr Janet Travell coined the term ‘TRIGGER POINT’ to describe a clinical finding that had the following characteristics;
- Pain related to a discrete, irritable point in skeletal muscle or fascia, not caused by acute local trauma, inflammation, degeneration neoplasm or infection.
- The painful point can be felt as a nodule or band in the muscle, and a twitch response can be elicited on stimulation of the trigger point.
- Palpation (touching) of the trigger point reproduces the patient’s complaint of pain, and the pain radiates in a distribution typical of the specific muscle harbouring the trigger point.
- The pain cannot be explained by findings on neurological examination.
It is important to note that Trigger points form only in muscles and generally develop in a muscle when it is injured or overworked and are a known cause of referred pain, headaches, neck and jaw pain, low back pain, “sciatica” etc.
Trigger points can be classified in a number of ways. Today we will look at two classifications that being “active” and “latent” trigger points.
An active trigger point is one that actively refers pain either locally or to another location (most trigger points refer pain elsewhere in the body along nerve pathways).
A latent trigger point is one that exists, but does not yet refer pain actively, but may do so when pressure or strain is applied to the muscle that contains the trigger point. Latent trigger points can influence muscle activation patterns, which can result in poorer muscle coordination and balance.
There are a few more than 620 potential trigger points possible in human muscles. These trigger points, when they become active or latent, show up in the same places in muscles in every person. That is, trigger point maps can be made that are accurate for everyone.
Treatment for Trigger Points
It is important to ascertain what has caused or is causing Trigger Points to develop in the muscle. Relief can be gained from
- Physiotherapy Treatment
- Remedial Massage (using Trigger point release techniques)
- Dry Needling/Acupuncture
- Remedial Massage
Physiotherapy treatment and Remedial Massage go hand in hand in successful treating Trigger Points.
At Physio Professionals we offer hands on treatment that can include Trigger Point Release, Acupuncture/ Dry needling and most importantly use assessment techniques to find out what is causing muscular weakness or tightness and this the first step in identifying and rectifying the problem.
After alleviating the pain with hands on treatment a physiotherapy strengthening and stretching program is designed to overcome the imbalances found during the assessment to help stop the recurrence of Trigger Points.
We recommend that after working on the muscular imbalances with our physiotherapy team it is important to keep up maintenance with regular Remedial Massage in the clinic to keep everything in check.
If you have any questions or queries we would love to help you.
Please call (07) 5438 9111 and our friendly team will assist you.