A trigger point is basically a tight area which is present within the muscle tissue. Besides causing the pain in the specific region it also causes the pain in other parts of body as well. For example, a trigger point in the back can cause neck pain. And trigger points that lie within the neck region causes the head pain.
Trigger points are commonly known as muscle knots, but they are actually not the knots. These are felt like a knot to the affected person due to the contraction of muscle in a specific spot.
These may be present in the size of a thumb and can hinder or interfere the muscles from working well inside the body.
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Trigger Points In Shoulder And Neck
In case if you can literally put a finger on the painful spot of your neck, shoulder or back area; it is most probably one of the trigger points in neck.
According to health professionals and experts trigger points for neck pain are located in the trapezius muscle. Trapezius muscles are the large triangular muscles which extends from the skull base over to the middle of the back of your neck and shoulders. This helps in moving the head and shoulder blade.
Studies showed that relieving trigger point pain in the body parts like neck, shoulders, upper or lower back, etc. can help in enhancing your lifestyle by eliminating neck and back problems forever. Doctors suggest few trigger point exercises which can be tried out on regular basis for getting the best relief.
Fibromyalgia Trigger Points
When a person feels hurt and severe pain all over the body on regular basis, it may be because of fibromyalgia chronic fatigue syndrome. However, a proper diagnosis is needed to rule out the exact cause of the pain.
Most of the time in conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome the diagnostic reports will show similar results. Thus taking a proper case history of the patient, going deep into the clinical features of the patient along with lab reports can help a bit to diagnose the real cause for the general body pain.
A single clinical feature which is available to help in the differential diagnosis between fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome is the trigger points. The trigger points are nothing but the pressure points where with little pressure the person experiences severe unbearable pain and hurt.
These trigger points are experienced only in the case of fibromyalgia as in case of chronic fatigue syndrome these are completely absent. Thus by utilizing this trigger point method you can differentiate the cause for the general body pain in an individual very easily.
Where Are The Fibromyalgia Trigger Points?
The major 18 trigger points (9 pairs) where a fibromyalgia patient may feel severe local or radiating pain on simple touch are as follows:
- In the Occipital Region – Point near the base of the skull where the occipital muscle gets inserted
- In the Cervical Region – Point at the anterior aspect of the lower cervical vertebrae mostly between the C5 – C7 intervertebral space region
- In the Trapezius Region – Midpoint between the neck regions, upper back muscles, middle back muscles and the shoulder blades
- At the 2nd Rib Region – Point superior-lateral to the second costochondral junction that means of the insertion of the 2nd region
- In the Supraspinatus Region – Point at the superior-medial border of the scapular spine
- At the Knee Region – Point in the middle of the knee joint
- At the Greater Trochanter Region – Point at the upper part of the thigh
- At the Lateral Epicondyle – Point at the side of the elbow, 2 cm distal to the epicondyle
- In the Gluteal Region – Point at the superior-lateral quadrant of gluteal region
Studies showed that a fibro patient may experience severe pain in at least 11 of these 18 trigger points for fibromyalgia when pressure is applied on them.
Apart from the above mentioned fibromyalgia trigger points there are many other points which may differ depending on the pain conditions in the individual. It is always better to consult with your doctor before you take any decision on your own to use trigger point therapy for treating fibromyalgia.
Trigger Points Vs. Tender Points
The trigger points are generally confused with tender points by the patients and also sometimes by the medical professionals as well. In case of tender points the pain is experienced by the patient on pressing at the particular painful region and this pain is basically localized.
Whereas in case of trigger points, the pain experienced is same like trigger points but the main difference is that it radiates to the nearby body parts immediately, when pressed on a particular painful area. Thus in case of fibromyalgia the typical trigger points are seen and not the tender points. And this should be observed correctly to rule out the problem in a proper way.
How Trigger Point Therapy Helps?
Useful Tips for How to Get Rid of Trigger Points in Neck and Shoulder
Trigger points generally causes a muscular pain. Hence a clear understanding of trigger points along with the areas that are covered by them is essential before getting any treatment.
Massaging: Muscle contraction stops the blood flow to the particular affected area. The controlled and comforting massaging actions relieves the contraction and lets free flow of blood. This flow fulfills the immediate oxygen requirement for the muscle and hence reduces the pain. Thus massaging the trigger point is said to be the best trigger point therapy which can help in loosening of the trigger points and in eliminating the pain.
The trigger point that is causing the trouble has to be identified first. Therapist uses multiple actions by pressing the spot, kneading the muscles over the entire area, and applying varying pressures at different areas. And an experienced therapist could identify the spot immediately, when you tell the exact place of the painful area.
Exercises: Many health professionals suggest physical therapy and regular aerobic exercises which helps in lowering the trigger point pain. You can try few general exercises such as swimming, arm movement, etc. which involves the workout of the muscles in your neck and shoulder. Experts also recommend using heating pad or an ice pack which helps in alleviating the pain of trigger points in neck and shoulder.
Medications: Soothing the trigger point pain with the help of Anti-inflammatories and trigger point injection is also a common recommendation for those where other therapies does not work. However it should be noted that just having a pain killer (which is sure to have side effects) would only relieve you from the pain, but not from the exact ailment causing elements.
On the other hand trigger point therapy like exercises and self massage helps you in tracing out the roots of the pain and provides relief that could be instantaneous and long term.
Preventing trigger points is one of the best thing for you that can help in long term. You should get aware of the best working postures, ergonomics and body mechanics which will help you in living healthy, stress free and pain free life forever.
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