Is your pain coming from muscle trigger points?

Is your pain coming from muscle trigger points? image

Is your pain coming from joints or muscle trigger points?

My Job as a Chiropractor is to look at the musculoskeletal system and determine where your pain is coming from. In most cases, this will either be coming from bone i.e. your joints and cartilage; or from the muscles surrounding these joints, or both. In this article, I want to focus on trigger points found in muscle that can mimic pain similar to joint pain and can be mistaken as joint or bone pain.

Back pain doesn’t always mean you have osteoarthritis of the spine. You might just have trigger points in your quadratus lumborum, erector spinae and/or multifidis muscles. Even if your xrays show signs of degeneration of the spine, it doesn’t always mean it is coming from the spine. Pain coming down the leg doesn’t always mean you have a herniated disc in your spine, it could be a referral pain coming from your gluteus medius muscle or a piriformis syndrome where the muscle is squeezing your sciatic nerve. Pain in the lumbar spine is felt very generally. To give you an example, the tongue has 3x the surface area of sensation than the entire lumbar spine, so it is very difficult for a patient to specify where pain is coming from exactly.


Gluteus trigger points & pain referral pattern


Spinal muscle trigger points & pain referral patterns


Piriformis trigger points & pain referral pattern


Teres trigger points & pain referral patterns

So what causes trigger points in muscle? These trigger points come about from acute and chronic overloads of the muscles. This can be from suddenly twisting your body when your muscles aren’t ready or strong enough, as you would be swinging a golf club. Driving a car with no power steering chronically overloads your teres minor muscle that can refer pain to the shoulder. So anything that suddenly stresses a muscle or stresses it over time, develops these trigger points.

Treating these trigger points can be done easily by a Chiropractor,and even by you at home. Being trained to identify these trigger points, a Chiropractor will use ischemic compression and dry needle therapy to deactivate these trigger points, along with a prescribed home therapy.

You can treat trigger points at home with a foam roller or a tennis ball. Many foam rolling exercises can be found online. If you don’t have a foam roller and would like to get into small spots like the back of the neck you can use a tennis ball to roll on. The spot will feel tender and bring on the pain you have been experiencing. Keep rolling and applying pressure to this point until the pain starts to subside. This can also be very effective for tension headaches. Once you have treated all the areas, you can also stretch afterwards to further the healing process. This can be done once a day, every two days, until relief is felt.


Best is to come in for an appointment with your local Chiropractor, so they can identify where your pain is coming from and treat it quickly and effectively!




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