At least twice a week, I get this question asked. It’s a term we hear a lot but do we really know what a Trigger point actually is?
First of all, do not confuse a trigger point with a tender point. Tender points are used for fibromyalgia diagnosis. Trigger points, also known as trigger sites or muscle knots, are described as hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers or it’s fascia. The site is usually tender, referred pain (pain that travels to another area) which cause shortening of the affected muscle.
Some trigger points may be painful at rest and with movement of the muscle containing it---active. Other trigger points may be painful only when palpated or touched---latent. A healthy muscle does not contain trigger points because the taut bands of muscle fibers and tenderness are not present. Activation of trigger points may be caused by a number of factors, including acute or chronic muscle overload, activation by other trigger points), disease, psychological distress (via systemic inflammation), direct trauma to the region, accident trauma (such as a car accident which stresses many muscles causing instant trigger points), infections and health issues such as smoking.
If you think trigger points are the cause of some of your pain, our crew here at Atlantic Spine Clinic in Mount Pleasant, SC can help with those nasty trigger points through massages, ultrasound, electrostimulation, and stretching techniques.