You often hear people speaking of having “knots” in their muscles but what does this really mean?
If you go to a physiotherapist, they will most likely use the technical term “Myofascial Trigger point” when describing the same thing. These can be defined as palpable nodules in taught bands of muscle where fibres are locked into a contracted position. These are a very common cause of pain both locally in an area or referred to another area. For example: a trigger point in the top of your shoulder (upper trapezius) can cause headaches.
Trigger points can also be secondary to other conditions such as arthritis, bulging discs, sporting injuries etc. Poor posture, Lack of exercise and non-restorative sleep are also common causes. When our muscles harbour trigger points, we experience pain, stiffness and tension, physical limitation and loss of normal function.
So how do we treat these trigger points?
Trigger point therapy- This is a method used to unlock these contracted fibres by applying pressure to the point itself. There are variations in this method depending on the practitioner.
Dry needling- This is the insertion of a thin filament needle to the trigger point. This works by directly treating the body’s neuromuscular system. The needles used are “dry” meaning they have no ability to inject or withdraw fluid. The aim is to change the tone of the affected muscle thereby reducing pain and improving mobility and function.
What should you expect from treatment?
Many patients experience relief from pain during the first treatment. For others, several treatments are needed before their pain starts to diminish. It is common for patients to experience some soreness for one to two days after treatment. This usually resolves after the first few treatments.
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