Our advancement in anything often seems to come with a double edged sword. The car, undeniably a useful and amazing invention, comes at the cost of traffic jams, pollution and possible weight gain.

The internet has both its advantages, for example speed, and its disadvantages, possible social ineptitude. As for the advancements in medicine there are far too many to list and we are very fortunate for this. However, perhaps the price we pay for such great medical expertise is that we may forget that the person who is best positioned to understand our pain, and often cure or prevent it, is ourselves.

It is not surprising that when we feel a little out of sorts our first port of call is generally the Doctor or the drugs cabinet. We are in a society that has taught us to follow this route. Literally tens of billions are spent every year on pharmaceutical advertising, often more than is spent on pharmaceutical research, and many visit the Doctor at the first sign of a physical problem.

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Now before reading on it is safe to say that of course there are times when a medical opinion is necessary. I am simply going to throw out a few home truths about many aches and pains that can be cured by considering why they are afflicting us and whether we could have prevented them.

Most of us are blessed with superb bodies that simply need better maintenance if we are going to challenge and overburden them with sporting feats and working hard. Overused and stressed muscles can lead to Trigger Points. Silent damagers of youthful fluidity and balanced motion.

The key is not to let your muscles get into a state that causes imbalances and pains. ‘Prevention is better than cure’ and the wonderful thing is that maintenance and prevention can be very simple if you are honest with yourself and what you ask your body to do. In fact many aches and pains are caused through tight knots that build up in muscles causing imbalances. Muscles literally pulling bones, tendons and nerves off kilter.

The smallest part of a muscle’s contraction that can be seen under a microscope are Sarcomeres. The contraction of muscles occur when Actin and Myosin protein molecules are attracted to each other when stimulated neurologically.

Trigger point therapy 2

Trigger points occur when the Actin and Myosin fail to uncouple. The muscle fibres then accumulate into a tight knot. When this happens blood circulation through the fibres is suppressed and inhibits the fuel required for the Actin and Myosin to release exacerbating the problem further.

Trigger points can be active or latent. Active trigger points cause spontaneous pain, with or without motion, and latent trigger points may only be obvious on touching. It is believed that our muscles slowly build up many latent Trigger Points overtime and Travell and Simon, the main writers on Trigger Points, believe that it is this build up of latent knots in the muscles that leads to much of the stiffness and joint pain characterised by old age.

There is no operation or drug that can reduce or eliminate these Trigger Points. The key is to use a treatment that increases the circulation of blood at that sarcomere bundle, or knots, therefore allowing the Actin and Myosin to separate and the fibres to run freely again.

Massage therapists use thumbs, knuckles and elbows. Sometimes it simply takes a little on off pressure to release these points as the blood comes running back through the muscle fibres. My company is producing an App and Wellblocks to hit Trigger Points conveniently on the go or at your desk.

A Few Problems brought about by Trigger Points

Pictures courtesy of massagenerd.com

Trigger point therapy 3

Headaches and stiff sore neck

Trigger points in the Trapezium, Levator Scapulae and Sternocleidomastoid can cause migraines and neck ache. Common for computer users and desk jobs.

Sore thumbs from texting

Trigger point therapy 4

 

  At your desk release muscles and find trigger points in the hand and forearm.

Sore knees and hips

Trigger points in the Tensor Fascia latae (TFL), and the quadricep muscle, Vastas Lateralis,  and glutes can cause tightness that pulls the knee, or hip, off kilter.

Trigger point therapy 2

Sore shoulders

The main culprits Trigger Points in the supraspinatus and infraspinatus.

Trigger point therapy 5

The good news is Trigger Points can be your friend as, with very little pressure the circulation can improve, the knots released and your muscle become long again. Problems can be relieved within days or a couple of weeks for more long term chronic problems. Then maintenance is the key.

By Dr Caroline Keddie of Wellblocks

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