What is a Trigger Point?
A trigger point is a tender point under the skin where you may feel a “knot”. When you push on this area you will notice local pain and pain that radiates out. These knots cause decreased blood flow to the area and increased nerve firing that triggers even more pain. Trigger points also cause referred pain, or pain felt in another part of the body.
Trigger points in the neck and shoulders often manifest as tension headaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), and temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ, or jaw pain). Trigger points in the arm and legs can cause decreased range of motion as well as pain. Trigger points can also contribute to plantar fasciitis (a type of foot pain).
End the cycle of pain.
Trigger Point Therapies
There are different ways to treat these muscle tension “knots” – most commonly with either manual therapy such as massage, or with direct injection therapy.
With manual therapy, direct pressure is applied to the trigger points, coercing the nervous system to relax locally.
Trigger Point Injection Therapy
With trigger point injection therapy areas of tenacious pain are directly injected with various medicinal solutions to provide immediate symptomatic pain relief. Supplying a trigger point with a local anaesthetic such as procaine (sometimes with the addition of vitamin B12 or homeopathics) forces the muscles there to relax.
In either case, allowing a trigger point to relax in turn allows increased blood flow to the area, decreasing the nerve firing that triggers pain, and ending an otherwise self-sustaining cycle.