Trigger Points: 3 Effective Treatments for Reducing Pain and Resolving the CauseOctober 5, 2019
Treatments for Trigger Points
When you feel your muscles (particularly your traps), can you feel small, hard knots or bumps in the muscle? That’s a trigger point.
What Is A Trigger Point?
When a trigger point is pressed, it causes pain and radiation of that pain along the muscle. In the case of the upper trapezius muscle, the radiation of pain can go up the neck.
Referral pain can also occur when a trigger point is pressed. Referral pain is pain in another area of the body, separate from the muscle that has the trigger point.
What Causes Trigger Points?
Trigger points are caused by injuries to the muscles in which they occur. One injury can cause a trigger point to form, as well as continual use of that muscle. It is common that repetitive motion or contraction of a muscle will result in a trigger point forming.
What Do Trigger Points Feel Like?
Trigger points can be a part of something called myofascial pain syndrome. This is a condition where multiple trigger points are found, causing increased pain. Symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome are:
- Pain, deep and aching in a muscle
- Pain that persists or worsens
- A tender knot in a muscle
- Difficulty sleeping due to pain
Treatments For Trigger Points
There are multiple options for treating trigger points. At Bay Wellness Centre, we aim to treat the cause of the trigger point so that they do not return. In doing so, your treatment plan may involve different stretches and exercises to perform. It may also include increasing your water intake, and changing the types of foods that you eat.
Some great options for treatment are acupuncture, cupping and intramuscular stimulation (IMS).
Acupuncture for Trigger Points
Acupuncture is a great tool that we, as naturopathic physicians, can use to treat trigger points and other body pains.
When using acupuncture to treat trigger points your naturopathic physician will take into account your symptoms, your pulses and the appearance in your tongue to develop a protocol best suited to you at that time. Typically acupuncture protocols are where acupuncture needles are placed in different areas of the body and left for 10 minutes. Your practitioner will then ‘stimulate’ those needles, and let them sit for 10 additional minutes.
IMS for Trigger Points
Intramuscular stimulation, or IMS is another treatment tool implemented by naturopathic physicians and physiotherapists. IMS utilizes acupuncture needles and can also go by the name of ‘Dry Needling.’
The needles are inserted into the trigger points until a ‘jump sign’ is achieved. The jump sign is the reaction of the muscle, and when the needle is removed, the muscle is relaxed and the trigger point is either resolved, or much smaller.
At Bay Wellness Centre, we like to combine the treatments of acupuncture and IMS for quick and efficient treatments.
Cupping for trigger points
Cupping is another tool from Traditional Chinese Medicine that we are able to use to treat trigger points. When performing cupping, we are placing the cups over the areas of tight muscles and trigger points. At Bay Wellness Centre, we use either vacuum suction Chinese cups or silicon suction Chinese cups. When the cup is placed over the affected area and suctioned to the area, the skin, fascia and muscle layers are gently pulled apart to allow easier blood flow.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pain is known to be stagnation of qi (energy). Acupuncture, and cupping are treatment tools to move the stagnated qi and allow for easy and free energy flow, resolving the pain.
Who Will These Treatments Work For?
The simple answer to this question is that everyone who has some type of chronic (reoccurring) or acute (once in a while, usually after hurting yourself in some way), pain can benefit from acupuncture, cupping and /or IMS.