A Trigger point is a collection of muscle cells that are in a continuous state of full contraction. They are commonly referred to as a “muscle knot”. The more technical definition describes a Trigger Point as “a hyper-irritable spot in skeletal muscle that is associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule in a taut band. This spot is painful upon compression and can give rise to characteristic referred pain, referred tenderness, motor dysfunction, and autonomic phenomena.”
Travell & Simons; Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, The Trigger Point Manual; 1999, pg.5
There are two types of trigger points –
“Latent” trigger points will cause fatigue and weakness to the involved muscle(s); however, they do not cause pain or other symptoms.
“Active” trigger points will also cause fatigue and weakness to the involved muscle(s) AND will always produce symptoms. Symptoms such as dizziness, numbness, vertigo, sinus issues, toothache, muscle weakness, sciatic pain, migraine, TMJD, heartburn, knee issues, back and shoulder pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hip pain and carpal tunnel syndrome are very often caused by trigger points.
Pressure, either static or dynamic, is applied to the trigger point to “release” it. When pressure is applied to the trigger point, it may reproduce the discomfort that a person has been feeling that has caused them to seek treatment in the first place. Don’t worry, by releasing the trigger point the pain associated with it will be gone or greatly diminished. It usually takes 2-3 sessions in close proximity to see great results.