Myofascial Trigger Points (or simply Trigger Points) are focal areas of involuntary muscle contraction within a muscle. This involuntary contraction can lead to a build-up of toxins (lactic acid) within the muscle that unfortunately tends to create further tightness within the muscle. This sets up a cycle that may continually worsen.
These Trigger Points can be either “active” or “passive. Passive Trigger Points can produce pain at the trigger point or at a site away from the trigger point when the trigger point is palpated (touched). Active Trigger Points can produce pain at the trigger point or at a site away from the trigger point without the need to touch the source of pain. Examples of common Trigger Points in the neck region and their referral patters are shown below.
Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy is a technique that slows or stops the self-perpetuating cycle mentioned above. The combination of remedial massage and the use of myofascial trigger point therapy can be used to relieve the symptoms associated with Neck Pain.
If the signs and symptoms associated with neck pain of muscular origin have been present for a prolonged period of time, research suggests multiple treatments over 3-4 weeks (1).
(1) Sherman KJ, Cook AJ, Wellman RD, et al. Five-week outcomes from a dosing trial of therapeutic massage for chronic neck pain. Annals of Family Medicine. 2014;12 (2):112–120.
by Ben Hewitt
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