Should be a simple question with a simple answer but all is not as it seems in every case.
The term trigger point was first described by Dr Janet Travell in 1942 she subsequently went onto successfully treat President J F Kennedy for lower back pain.
According to Dr Travell in her book Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, they are tiny contraction knots that develop in muscles when they are overworked or injured. In healthy normal muscles the tiny cells are working to pump blood through the capillaries. When there’s a problem they stay contracted and the blood and oxygen cease to be distributed in that vicinity resulting in pain receptors being fired off
The unusual characteristic of triggers points is that they usually send the pain signals to other areas known then as referred pain. A good therapist has to be aware of the referred pain syndrome otherwise they stay treating in the pain area and not in the source area.
Luckily triggers points follow a predictable pattern with referred pain, therefore treating the cause is simple if you know where to look. Treatment can also be easy by massaging the trigger point and by applying pressure with your thumb or forefinger on the trigger point for 7 seconds, then slowly releasing to encourage the fibres to release and return to their normal state.
While self-help is always an option I would recommend seeing a practitioner who has been trained in trigger point release until your confident you can self-administer. As trigger point pain could be due to bad posture or muscle weakness due to a lack of exercise. A trained therapist will be able to discuss some of the underlying causes to prevent reoccurrences.
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