A trigger point is a small nodule or spot of tenderness in a tight band of muscle. Some people may refer to these as knots in a muscle or Myofascial Trigger Points. A muscle trigger point can be differentiated from muscle scar tissue by their point tenderness and pain referral tendencies. A patient may experience pain in a distal region that can be reproduced by pressure on the trigger point. A patient makes the connection between palpation of the trigger point and a reproduction of familiar pain.
Muscle overuse and direct trauma to a specific muscle or muscle group can lead to the development of trigger points. A motor vehicle accident is the type of direct trauma that frequently causes these issues. When a muscle is injured, it may respond by developing a sustained contraction of a small group of muscle fibers. When this occurs it is often palpable and produces familiar pain for the patient. Development of this type of injury is also common in sports and work cases.
When a Chiropractic Physician evaluates muscle groups in a specific region they are checking for tension and tenderness in the muscles. When they find a region of particular tenderness and the tender spots reproduce distal referred pain, they can begin to address the problem of trigger points. Deep tissue massage is an effective treatment for decreasing the symptoms of trigger points. Ischemic compression is performed by firmly pressing on the trigger point to force blood out of the area to inactivate the trigger point. It is common for the muscle to produce a twitching response. This is a corrective therapy that Chiropractors are skilled at performing.