What is a trigger point?

A trigger point is a localized spot of tension in a muscle that is especially tender to the touch. It can cause pain directly where it is located or can refer pain to a nearby muscle. Many people call trigger points “knots” as they can usually be felt superficially.

Why do they occur?

Muscle strains, injury, body mechanics, and emotional and physical stress can all lead to painful trigger points. Some common locations are between the shoulder blades and at the base of the neck, though they can be anywhere in muscle tissue. If a muscle is weak, overstretched, or inflamed, these knots can occur as the body tries to protect itself from further injury.

How can ACS help?

At Advanced Care Specialists, we believe in utilizing many treatment options to provide you with the most optimal and specific care plan unique to you and your needs. If you are experiencing painful trigger points and are seeking relief, here is how ACS can help:

  • Trigger Point Injections, or TPIs, are available to those experiencing persistent painful trigger points. TPIs are safe, low doses of medication that are injected directly into the affected area to help decrease pain. Check out this video on our Instagram page where one of our Nurse Practitioners demonstrates what a TPI is!
  • Cupping is the use of small plastic, glass, or rubber cups that are applied to the skin. The air is suctioned out of the cup which gently stretches the superficial soft tissue beneath it. This technique increases blood flow to the area which helps with healing, as well as decreasing the tension in underlying muscle tissue. If you’d like to learn more about cupping, click here to read a different blog post written by our Director of Rehab that discusses the benefits of cupping.
  • Manual Tissue Mobilization is an effective treatment in which therapists use their hands to locate painful points and apply specific directional movements to the tissue to alleviate the tension. We also have a Massage Therapist on staff for those seeking a full session dedicated to massage.
  • Our Active Therapy department identifies deficits in strength and range of motion in body joints. By addressing your specific impairments, we work to restore the balance between muscles. By restoring that balance, your muscles are less likely to become overstretched or inflamed therefore less likely to develop painful trigger points.
  • In our Passive Care room, (which you can read about here: What is Passive Rehabilitation? | Advanced Care Specialists) we offer many helpful options such as Ultrasound, Electric Stimulation, and Infrared light therapy which can all help with decreasing pain and muscle tension as well as restoring tissue extensibility.
  • Chiropractic adjustments address subluxations, or misalignments, in bones throughout the body. By realigning the bones, the muscles that attach to them will become more relaxed and less painful.

If you have any questions about any of our options that help treat a painful trigger point, please give us a call.

Lynne Carlson, PTA

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