Trigger points are commonly known as muscle knots, but they are not knots after all. They feel like a knot to the affected person due to some contraction of muscle in one specific spot. This could be the size of a thumb.
When a person feels hurt and irresolvable pain all over the body on regular basis then it may be because of either fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. However, a proper diagnosis is needed to rule out the perfect cause for the pain.
Most of the time in both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome the diagnostic reports will show similar results only. Thus taking a proper case history of the patient, going deep into the clinical features available to the patient along with lab reports can help a bit to diagnose the perfect cause for the general body pain.
But a single clinical feature which is available to us to help effectively in the differential diagnosis between fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome is the trigger points. The trigger points are nothing but the pressure points where with little pressure the person will be screaming with pain and hurt.
This trigger point is seen only in the case of fibromyalgia whereas in case of chronic fatigue syndrome it will be completely absent. Thus by utilizing this trigger point method you can differentiate the cause for the general body pain in the individual effectively and easily.
Trigger points vs. Tender Points:
The trigger points are generally confused with tender points by the patients and also sometimes by the medical professionals. In case of tender points the pain will be experienced by the patient on pressing at the particular painful region and this pain will be localized only.
Whereas in case of trigger points, the pain will be experienced same like trigger points but the difference is that the pain will radiate to the nearby parts immediately when pressing on the particular painful area. Thus in case of fibromyalgia the typical trigger points only will be seen not the tender points and this should be observed correctly to rule out the problem perfectly.
Brief about Fibromyalgia Trigger Points:
The major trigger points where the fibromyalgia patient will feel severe local cum radiating pain on simple touch are as follows:
- In the Occipital Region – Point near the base of the skull where the occipital muscle gets inserted
- In the Cervical Region – Point at the anterior aspect of the lower cervical vertebrae mostly between the C5 – C7 intervertebral space region
- In the Trapezius Region – Midpoint between the neck regions, upper back muscles, middle back muscles and the shoulder blades
- At the 2nd Rib Region – Point superior-lateral to the second costochondral junction that means of the insertion of the 2nd region
- In the Supraspinatus Region – Point at the superior-medial border of the scapular spine
- At the Knee Region – Point in the middle of the knee joint
- At the Greater Trochanter Region – Point at the upper part of the thigh
- At the Lateral Epicondyle – Point at the side of the elbow, 2 cm distal to the epicondyle
- In the Gluteal Region – Point at the superior-lateral quadrant of gluteal region
Apart from the above mentioned trigger points there are so many other points which may differ with each and every individual. It is always better to consult with your doctor before you take any decision on your own to use trigger point therapy for treating fibromyalgia.
How Trigger Point Therapy Helps
Trigger point problems generally cause muscular pain. It does not necessarily mean that the pain should be caused at the point where the trigger point exists.
Trigger point contraction in neck muscle can cause pain in the head and similarly a knot in the back cause pain in the neck. Hence a clear understanding of the trigger points and the areas that are covered by them is essential before giving any treatment. Let us look about how trigger point therapy works and how it benefits the patient.
- Massage is the best trigger point therapy and there are reasons for it.
- The pain is purely related to muscles.
- Muscle contraction stops blood flow to that particular spot
- The trigger point that is causing the trouble has to be identified first.
- An experienced therapist could identify the spot the moment you tell the place where the pain is.
- Therapist uses multiple actions by pressing the spot, kneading the muscles over the entire area, and applying varying pressures at different areas.
- These controlled and comforting actions relieves the contraction and lets free flow of blood.
- This flow supplies immediate oxygen requirement for the muscle that reduces the pain.
- The kneading action performed by the therapist relaxes the muscle and extents the contracted muscles and provides immediate relief.
Just having a pain killer which is sure to have side effects would only relieve you from the pain, but not from the ailment. But a trigger point therapy helps you in tracing the roots of the pain and provides relief that could be instantaneous.