Myofascial Trigger Point Massage

[mī·ōfa′shē·əl]
“pertaining to a muscle and its sheath of connective tissue, or fascia.”

Myofascial trigger point Massage, also known as trigger points, are described as hyperirritable spots in the fascia surrounding skeletal muscle. They are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers. Compression of a trigger point may elicit local tenderness, referred pain, or local twitch response and has a referred pain pattern. The local twitch response is not the same as a muscle spasm. This is because a muscle spasm refers to the entire muscle contracting whereas the local twitch response also refers to the entire muscle but only involves a small twitch, no contraction.

The word myofascial means muscle tissue (myo) and the connective tissue in and around it (fascia). Myofascial pain often results from muscle injury or repetitive strain. When stressed or injured, muscles often form trigger points, like contracted knots, that cause pain and tightness.

[mī·ōfa′shē·əl]
“pertaining to a muscle and its sheath of connective tissue, or fascia.”
For instance, when the muscle at the top of your shoulder (trapezius) has a trigger point it will refer pain up the side of your neck and head causing a headache. Active myofascial trigger points in the muscles of the shoulder neck and face are a common source of headaches.  In many instances, the headache has the features of so-called tension headache, but there is increasing acceptance that myofascial trigger points may initiate classical migraine headaches or be part of a mixed tension/migraine headache complex.

Muscles make up between 36-42% of body weight, on average. They are a large percentage of our total weight and have a corresponding impact on our health. When all is in working order, muscles allow us to perform normal activities with ease. When our muscles harbor trigger points, we experience pain, stiffness and tension, physical limitation and loss of normal function.

Factors commonly cited as predisposing to trigger point formation include but are not limited to de-conditioning, poor posture, repetitive mechanical stress, mechanical imbalance (e.g. leg length inequality), joint disorders, non-restorative sleep and vitamin deficiencies.

A diagnosis of Myofascial Pain Syndrome or Chronic Myofascial Pain means that the primary source of your symptoms is from these myofascial trigger points. Often, trigger points are present secondary to other sources of pain, such as arthritis or bulging discs. The trigger points may actually be causing the painful symptoms attributed to with these conditions. As such, arthritis or bulging discs. The trigger points may actually be causing the painful symptoms attributed to with these conditions.

  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Rotator cuff (shoulder) pain
  • Jaw pain (TMJD)
  • Tennis elbow
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Hand and arm pain
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries
  • Pelvic pain
  • Hip pain
  • “Sciatic” pain (buttock and leg pain)
  • Leg and knee pain
  • Plantar fasciitis (foot) pain
  • Tendinitis/tendinopathy
  • Bursitis
  • Arthritis
  • Disc pain (bulge/rupture/herniation) and radiculopathy
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Fibromyalgia

How Trigger Points Are Formed

The damage to muscle and connective tissue which results in trigger points can occur several ways. It can happen as the result of:

  • Repetitive overuse injuries (using the same body parts, in the same way, hundreds of times on a daily basis) from activities such as typing/mousing, handheld electronics, gardening, home improvement projects, work environments, etc.
  • Sustained loading as with heavy lifting, carrying babies, briefcases, boxes, wearing body armor or lifting bedridden patients.
  • Habitually poor posture due to our sedentary lifestyles, de-conditioning, and poorly designed furniture
  • Muscle clenching and tensing due to mental/emotional stress.
  • A direct injury such as a blow, strain, break, twist or tear. Think car accidents, sports injuries, falling down stairs and the like.
  • Surprisingly, trigger points can even develop due to in activities such as prolonged bed rest or sitting

 

Click this link for a Myofascial Trigger Point Symptom Checker

 

Video’s Explaining Trigger Points

What are Trigger Point Injections

( must be done by an MD specialist )

In the TPI procedure, a health care professional (MD) inserts a small needle into the patient’s trigger point. The injection contains a local anesthetic or saline and may include a corticosteroid. With the injection, the trigger point is made inactive and the pain is alleviated.

 

Further Reading on Myofascial Trigger Points

Myofascial Trigger Points

Santa Barbara Independent Article

myofascialtherapy.org

Fix Pain by John Harris

treatyourtriggers.com   Great Resource

The Scientific Basis of Myofascial Trigger Points

http://www.triggerpoints.net/

(Simons) Myofascial Pain Syndrome Due To Trigger Points

 

Trigger Point Tools

Trigger Point Books

 

 

 

Collection of Trigger Point Images

 

 

 

*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company or specific massage therapy technique, modality or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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