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Trigger Points and Muscle Pain: A Physical Therapist’s Approach

Trigger Points and Muscle Pain: A Physical Therapist’s Approach

Written by:  YUCHIN CHANG, PT, DPT, OCS, CMTPT

Have you ever had painful spots in your muscles?  And they are just so tight and sore that you cannot rub them out? Even when you have been very disciplined with your stretching routines, you still cannot eliminate the tightness and pain in your muscles.   If so, you may have trigger points in your muscles!

Trigger Points are a common clinical presentation in physical therapy, and they are defined as ‘a hyper-irritable spot in a taut band found in a muscle’.  When pressing on an active trigger point, patients can often feel referred pain in other areas of the body.  For instance, when pressing on an active trigger point in the upper trapezius muscle, a patient can often feel pain traveling into his head or jaw.

How are trigger points formed?  They can be caused by trauma, poor posture, overloading of a muscle, or joint dysfunction.  Trigger points are a common pain contributor; they are found in various conditions, such as chronic tension headache, migraines, pelvic dysfunction, frozen shoulder, shoulder impingement, fibromyalgia, whiplash, TMJ dysfunction, and so on.

How can physical therapy help?  Physical therapists are the experts in dealing with muscles pain and dysfunction. Through various soft tissue manipulation techniques, Trigger Point Dry Needling, posture correction, exercises, and alignment correction, we can effectively treat the underlying issues that are causing the muscle tightness and pain.  A personalized home exercise program is also given for symptom management and patient empowerment.   Once the underlying causes are found, the trigger points can be successfully eliminated, and patients can resume their normal lives.

For more questions about how physical therapy can help your muscle pain, please call our Professional Physical Therapy and Training for more information.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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