15 April 2020
“Im all knotted up!”: Myofascial Trigger Points
What are muscle ‘knots’ or myofascial trigger points, how do they develop and what can you do…
Have you ever experienced a tender lumpy sensation under your skin and thought to yourself: what is that? How did that get there? Or maybe you have attended a session with one of our osteopaths or massage therapist and during the treatment they have found a small area that is painful on touch.
Muscle ‘knots’, also known as a myofascial trigger points, are common and are discrete, focal hyper-irritable spots located in a taut band of skeletal muscle. The formation of trigger points may be due to an acute trauma or repetitive microtrauma, leading to increased stress on muscle fibres, and can develop almost anywhere on the body where muscle or fascia is present.
One of the most common areas for trigger points is the trapezius muscle, which is triangle shaped muscle located from the neck to the middle of the back and shoulder. Other places where they commonly occur include lower back, neck, shoulders and lower leg, such as the calf muscles.
Compression of the trigger point may induce pain directly over the affected area and cause pain to travel to nearby muscles, known as referred pain, and sometimes lead to a twitch response.
With the current COVID-19 environment leading us to spend the majority of our time at home, the following are some ways to prevent getting trigger points in the first place:
Exercise – challenge your muscles by moving, stretching and lifting.
Take breaks from sitting in front of a computer, television or staring at a mobile phone – every hour, get up and walk around. When sitting at your desk, move as much as you can by straightening your back, turning your neck from side to side, etc.
Diet & nutrition – increase water intake and eat a healthy diet.
Massage – massage can help to keep your muscles healthy, flexible and promotes circulation. Yes, you can do it on your own.
Lifestyle – reduce stress by slowing down, get more sleep and breathing exercises.
If you already have trigger points appropriate treatment includes:
Rest – if you’re in pain and can link the pain to a certain activity. Maybe take some time away from that activity, e.g. sitting at a computer, riding the bike or running, etc.
Massage – not only does it help prevent trigger points, but it can help relieve them and muscle pain.
Stretching – gentle, full-body movement. Note: do not push stretches too hard and over-stretch.
In summary, keep moving!!
Although we are not able to provide treatment in person at the moment as we are all staying at home to save lives, please let the team know if we can help with advice and guidance over the phone or by email.