Trigger points, also called muscle knots often cause pain and tightness in our neck, shoulders and hips. Trigger point therapy helps to reduce the inflammation in these knots and restore range of motion within the affected joints.
What is a trigger point? And what causes it to form?
Dr. Luke Stringer: A trigger point is essentially myofascial pain. Myo meaning muscle, and fascia just means the connective tissue that surrounds it. When the tissue is injured, or put into repetitive strain, stress, such as sports injuries or lots of repetition such as sitting, the tissue becomes damaged and often forms trigger points, which are like contracted knots. Then, over time, those knots can cause pain and tightness in the area. They’re most commonly caused by excessive sitting or tasks that require a lot of repetition, such as a Cross Fit workout.
Where on the body are trigger points most commonly found?
Dr. Luke Stringer: The areas in the body where tissue cross joints, essentially and/or joints that require lots of movement throughout the day. So, common areas that we see in the body tend to be in the neck and the shoulders or in the low back and hips. These areas also have to support us posturally throughout the day and are repetitively stressed due to poor posture we develop over time through sitting too much in a corporate environment which, over time, results in a breakdown of tissue and eventually formation of trigger points.
What does trigger point therapy do?
Dr. Luke Stringer: There’s several forms of trigger point therapy, the most simple probably being foam rolling you can do on your own at home or in the gym. I’d say probably the best form is to work with a provider, a physician that can perform active release, and if you go towards more the medical side, you can get trigger point injections.
You have the same goal in mind, which is the breakdown of damaged tissue commonly referred to as scar tissue or adhesion. By doing this, the aim is to decrease the inflammation in the tissue over time, improve the range of motion within the tissue and/or joint, and then eventually get to stabilizing and strengthening the area, which should allow for healthy, full, pain-free range of motion.
Is trigger point therapy used in conjunction with other treatments or therapies that a patient might need?
Dr. Luke Stringer: If done well by a trained physician, trigger point therapy can be all you need. However, when it’s combined with other conservative care treatments such as chiropractic and/or physical therapy, results can be optimized offering really effective, positive results in a patient.
What are the overall benefits of getting trigger point therapy?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Our bodies were designed to move. We all started out as hunters and gatherers. However, in today’s society, the average American has to sit for about 10 hours a day. Sitting is the new smoking, essentially. It puts our bodies under a massive amount of repetitive stress and, over time, the stress breaks down our soft tissue, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints, which leads to pain and problems in our lifestyle.
Trigger point therapy, when performed well by a trained physician, can help restore the health of the joint and the tissue. It’s done by restoring full range of motion, and eventually restoring the stability. This creates for a healthier load into the joint and the tissue, and that healthy load allows for a full, pain-free movement which allows for good function, and essentially a life without any pain.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Luke Stringer visit www.southloopchiropractor.com or call (312) 987-4878 to schedule an appointment.