What is a Trigger Point?
A trigger point is a small contraction knot in the muscle tissue. A trigger point affects a muscle by keeping it both tight and weak.
The trigger point maintains a hard contraction on the muscle fibers that it is part of. These taut bands of muscle fiber keep constant tension on the muscle’s attachments often producing symptoms in adjacent joints. The constant tension in the fibers of the trigger point itself restricts circulation in its immediate area, depriving the area of oxygen and nutrients needed for metabolism.
The difficulty in treating trigger points is that they typically send pain to some other site. Most conventional treatment of pain is based on the assumption that the cause of pain will be found at the site of the pain. But trigger points almost always send their pain elsewhere. This referred pain is what has always thrown everybody off, including most doctors. Conventional treatments for pain so often fail because they focus on the pain itself, treating the site of the pain while overlooking and failing to treat the cause which may be some distance away.
Even worse than routinely treating the site of the pain is the pharmaceutical treatment of the whole body for what is usually a local problem. Painkilling drugs, the increasingly expensive treatment of choice these days gives us the illusion that something good is happening when in reality they only mask the problem. Most common pain, like headaches, muscle aches, and joint pain is a warning-a protection response to muscle overuse or trauma. Pain is telling you something is wrong and needs attention. It’s not good medicine to kill the messenger and ignore the message.
Luckily referred pain is now known to occur in predictable patterns. The valuable medical advance made by Traveil and Simons and their brilliant illustrator, Barbara Cummings, has been in delineating these very patterns. Once you know where to look, trigger points are easily located by touch and deactivated by any of several methods.
The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook-
By Clair Davies and Amber Davies
muscle fiber in a normal resting state.
A knot in a muscle fiber consisting of a mass of sarcomeres in the state of maximum continuous contraction that characterizes a trigger point.
The part of the muscle fiber that extends from the contraction knot to the muscle’s attachment.