What is a trigger point?
Muscles are made of up of fibres, called sarcomeres, that overlap each other. When the sarcomeres contract, they attach to the adjacent fibres and pull, resulting in movement of the muscle. To release this movement the sarcomeres let go of their hold on the adjacent fibres and the contraction stops.
A knot, or more accurately a trigger point, is formed when the sarcomeres are constantly firing, or 'switched on'. It can feel like a nodule or knot in the muscle when felt through the skin and can refer pain beyond the knot itself.
When the fibres fail to switch off bunching occurs in the muscle which decreases the amount of blood flow and increases the metabolic waste build up. The body interprets this as pain.
Common causes of trigger points
- Repetitive overuse injuries
- Poor posture
- Sustained exertion such as heavy lifting; holding children; carrying a heavy handbag, briefcase or school bag
- Muscle tension due to mental or emotional stress
- Direct injury
- Inactivity such a prolonged sitting
Trigger points are a common problem in many individuals, causing discomfort and pain in their daily lives. Although it seems relieving to stretch the uncomfortable area, you are only stretching the fibres around the trigger point and not targeting the problem.
Discover how to untie your knots
As a soft tissue therapist I often see individuals with a sense of tightness or pain referred to as a knot. Through the use of a variety of manual techniques, I have been able to help my clients by changing the mechanical structure of the muscle tissue and reduce pain and discomfort.
A range of trigger point therapy techniques which therapists use can allow for the greatest results. These include:
- Kinesiology tape or K-tape
- Deep Tissue
- Dry Needling
- IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation)
In my experience as a Soft Tissue Therapist I have found the most effective way to help alleviate a trigger point is through educating the client about all that a trigger point is, coupled with the use of soft tissue release and self release techniques which can be done at home.
Jean-Claude is a soft tissue therapist at Sydney Sports Medicine Centre. To find out how he or anyone of our team can help you alleviate your pain and dysfunction, book in with our clinic today.