Have you ever felt pain when you applied pressure to a specific muscle or point of a muscle? Has this pain then radiated to another part of your body as well? If so, you could be suffering from trigger points.
Trigger points are spasms within a muscle that have become deprived of blood flow and have become irritated. When a muscle is healthy, muscle fibers within the muscle smoothly glide to contract and lengthen, allowing the muscle to work efficiently. When a trigger point develops, muscle fibers begin to clump together and spasm. Once a muscle develops a trigger point, that muscle cannot work as efficiently and becomes weakened. Oftentimes, many people suffering from pain don’t even realize that the source of their pain could be coming from a collection of trigger points. In fact, trigger points can cause such wide pain throughout the body that specific trigger point referral patterns exist for each muscle we have.
Everyday strains, poor posture, underlying joint dysfunction, local trauma, inflammation, overuse injuries, and numerous other musculoskeletal dysfunctions can create trigger points. Trigger points are a common culprit of referred pain—that is, pain being felt in areas of the body that are different from the source. For example, when our adductor muscles (muscles along our inner thighs) are overexerted or injured, trigger points can restrict movement and cause pain in not only our legs but also in our hips, pelvis, and low back. Trigger points in the adductors can become so severe that they refer pain internally to the areas of the bladder and rectum. Hamstring trigger points can refer pain along the back of the thigh and buttock but can also travel all the way down into the knee. Abdominal trigger points can contribute to symptoms of IBS and various stomach pains. Trigger points are very uncomfortable and, unfortunately, very common with most people who suffer from pain. Luckily, there are many ways to effectively treat and heal trigger points.
There are numerous options to DIY your treatment through proper stretches or the use of a foam roller or theracane. In fact, we have a lot of great, at-home options and solutions on our YouTube channel! However, the referral patterns of trigger points are complex, especially when multiple muscles are involved. This is where hands-on treatment with an experienced physical therapist can help! At Rebalance Physical Therapy, we have been trained to effectively evaluate for trigger points and identify if they could be a source of your pain and stiffness. We use specific hands-on release techniques to reduce and even eliminate trigger points. Healing is a holistic practice, so our therapists will also customize a stretching and exercise protocol for you as well as recommend other lifestyle changes to help rebalance your body and prevent your trigger points from returning.
If you live in the Greater Philadelphia area and suspect you are experiencing pain from trigger points, please visit Rebalance Physical Therapy in person! If you are unable to travel, we are also doing phone consults and Telehealth visits to help you find relief from your trigger points in an efficient and safe way!
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