What are trigger points? Do I have them?
In another post, we talked about knee pain sometimes being caused by trigger points in the thigh. But that’s not the only place they can be!
Trigger points are defined as areas of muscle which are hyper-irritable, with a palpable nodule, or lump, in a taut band of tissue. When the nodule is compressed, it can cause a fasciculation or twitching response, and often refers pain in a pattern associated with that particular point. In other words, it’s a “knot” that when you squeeze or press it, it will often twitch, and you feel pain some place else in addition to that spot.
Trigger points are very treatable with a variety of methods and combinations to empower patients into new and improved movement patterns with pain interventions along the way.
Usual causes of trigger points:
- Injury sustained by a fall, by stress or birth trauma
- Lack of exercise – commonly in sedentary persons between 27-55 years, of which 45% are men
- Bad posture – upper and lower crossed pattern, swayback posture, telephone posture, cross-legged sitting
- Muscle overuse and respective micro-trauma – weightlifting
- Chronic stress condition – anxiety, depression, psychological stress trauma
- Vitamin deficiencies – vitamin C, D, B; folic acid; iron
- Sleep disturbance
- Joint problems and hypermobility
Some conditions that can seem like trigger points that need to be ruled out:
- MSK diseases: trauma, arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis
- Systemic diseases: SLE, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, infections, Lyme, hypothyroid, etc.
- Centralized pain disorder