to Doctors Janet Travell and David Simons in their widely
acclaimed medical textbook, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction:
The Trigger Point Manual, myofascial trigger points are tiny
knots that develop in a muscle when it is injured or overworked.
defining symptom of a trigger point is referred pain; that
is, trigger points usually send their pain to some other
site. This is the reason conventional treatments for pain
so often fail. It's a mistake to assume that the problem
is at the place that hurts! Travell and Simons' research
has shown that trigger points are the primary cause of pain
seventy-five percent of the time and are at least a part
of nearly every pain problem.
points cause headaches, neck and jaw pain, low back pain,
tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome. They are the source
of the pain in such joints as the shoulder, wrist, hip,
knee and ankle that is so often mistaken for arthritis,
tendonitis, bursitis, or ligament injury. Trigger points
also cause symptoms as diverse as dizziness, earaches, sinusitis,
nausea, heartburn, false heart pain, heart arrhythmia, genital
pain and numbness in the hands and feet. Even fibromyalgia
may have its beginnings with trigger points.
the pain and other symptoms caused by trigger points occur
in predictable patterns. When you know where to look, trigger
points are easily located and deactivated with simple massage
techniques. Most problems can be eliminated within three
to ten days. Even long-standing chronic conditions can be
significantly improved in as little as six weeks.
Physiology of a Trigger Point:
part of a muscle fiber that actually does the contracting
is a microscopic unit called a sarcomere. Contraction occurs
in a sarcomere when its two parts come together and interlock
like fingers. Millions of sarcomeres have to contract in
your muscles to make even the smallest movement. A trigger
point exists when over stimulated sarcomeres are chemically
prevented from releasing from their interlocked state.
drawing is a representation of several muscle fibers within
a trigger point and is based on an electron microscope photograph
of an actual trigger point. (This photograph can be seen
on page 69 of Travell and Simons' Trigger Point Manual,
second edition, volume one.)
A is a muscle fiber in a normal resting state, neither stretched
nor contracted. The distance between the short crossways lines
(Z bands) within the fiber defines the length of the individual
sarcomeres. The sarcomeres run lengthwise in the fiber, perpendicular
to the Z bands.
B is 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 bulbous appearance of the contraction
knot indicates how that segment of the muscle fiber has
drawn up and become shorter and wider. The Z bands have
been drawn much closer together.
C is the part of the muscle fiber that extends from the
contraction knot to the muscle's attachment (to the breastbone
in this case). Note the greater distance between the Z bands,
which displays how the muscle fiber is being stretched by
tension within the contraction knot. These overstretched
segments of muscle fiber are what cause shortness and tightness
in a muscle.
when a muscle is working, its sarcomeres act like tiny pumps,
contracting and relaxing to circulate blood through the
capillaries that supply their metabolic needs. When sarcomeres
in a trigger point hold their contraction, blood flow essentially
stops in the immediate area. The resulting oxygen starvation
and accumulation of the waste products of metabolism irritates
the trigger point. The trigger point responds to this emergency
by sending out pain signals.
of the trigger point flushes the tissue and helps the trigger
point's contracted sarcomeres begin to release. In dealing
directly with the trigger point, massage is the safest,
most natural and most effective form of pain therapy. Our
therapists will work with you to deliver trigger point massage
and get rid of aching pain, numbness, and tingling, burning,
and other myofascial symptoms when trigger points are the
us today at 408-739-2273 for a great massage!