What are Trigger Points and how can my Physical Medicine Office help?

Let's start with a basic definition; Trigger points are described as hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with palpable nodules.  Commonly, we refer to these as ‘knots’ in our muscle.

A trigger point can radiate pain or you can feel pain in other areas of the body that are actually coming from or ‘radiating’ from the knot.

Research by Dr. Janet Travell and David Simons, authors of The Trigger Point Manual, has shown that trigger points are the primary cause of pain at least 75 percent of the time and are a factor in nearly every painful condition.

Trigger points are the result of tiny contraction knots that develop in muscle and tissue when an area of the body is injured or overworked. Trigger points are something traditional doctors ignore, but they could be the one thing that has been overlooked in your case for years. This is also where a Physical Medicine Office can offer relief and therapies not traditionally offered by a medical doctor (MD).

Why do Trigger Points Cause Trouble?

Your body’s instinctive reaction to a harmful “event” is to protect itself.   It is always working to maintain what is called homeostasis, a fancy term for your body maintain it’s a regular mode of operation. So, when you are sick or have injured yourself, the body is working hard to come back to balance, or, maintain homeostasis.

If you have injured yourself or have developed a trigger point, your body tries to protect itself by altering the way you move, sit, or stand, which puts an abnormal strain on your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. This produces strength and flexibility imbalances in your muscles, as well as postural dysfunctions throughout your body.

As well, blood flow can become restricted and when that happens both your peripheral and central nervous systems will start to send out those “referred” pain signals, making assessment and treatment even trickier. That’s why some experts believe that trigger points are the beginning stage of fibromyalgia!

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