Last Updated on December 23, 2021 by melissanreynolds
What are some practical tools to help you manage myofascial trigger points and myofascial pain syndrome? I have you covered here.
But what are myofascial trigger points?
A good definition of Myofascial Pain Syndrome that I have come across explains it as: “hyper irritable spots, usually within a taut band of skeletal muscle or in the muscle’s fascia that is painful on compression and can give rise to characteristic referred pain, tenderness, and autonomic phenomena” Travell, JG, Simons, DG. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction. The Trigger Point Manual: Upper Half of Body, 2nd edition. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore 1988.
For more about what they are, diagnosis, research and other treatments see this post.
My experience with myofascial trigger points
I will try to keep this brief, as my fight with trigger points is over a decade long. For many years the pain in my neck was ignored or chalked up to fibromyalgia. (Doctor dusting their hands off, can’t do anything about that).
Yet the traditional “there is no physical cause for fibromyalgia pain” and “ibuprofen doesn’t work for fibromyalgia” things did not hold true for me. There were physical things happening to the muscles (knots, aka trigger points). Physical therapists could pinpoint the problem but not effect lasting change.
Until I found the right physiotherapist who knew what she was talking about. Then the journey began. It has taken me many years to get to the point where I am managing my trigger points better. But they still take all day, every day to manage.
This post shares some of the journey if you want to know more.
The key ways to treat myofascial trigger points
- Manage (reduce or remove) perpetuating factors
- Conquer our whole of life plan
- Tackle the actual trigger points physically
I talk about managing perpetuating factors in my big post about Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Trigger Points and Fibromyalgia. It isn’t likely to be easy if they have been around for a while and become chronic, but do start your work on this.
Conquering our whole of life plan means those big things that impact our sleep, overall pain and fatigue levels and all of the rest of it. For me, Low Dose Naltrexone, Recovery Factors and Yoga Nidra mean that I sleep better, am able to rest and relax better and my over health is better.
This means my work in physically managing the trigger points is easier.
How to Physically Treat Trigger Points
- Heat: heat pack, hot bath or shower
- Topical creams
- Trigger Point Massage
- Medicines: Brufen, when they get to spasm level then a muscle relaxant. I am not qualified to talk about medicines, but this post does an excellent round up of muscle relaxants and how to use them. Obviously this is in conjunction with your doctor.
The Practical Items That Can Help With Myofascial Trigger Points
Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and if you make a purchase using these, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
This one started it all for me, a way to manage trigger points without hurting my hands and fingers.
If, like me, your neck is a big issue to manage, you might like this one.
Do you follow me on Instagram (you can here)? I shared about how this little item (I couldn’t remember the name of it for weeks lol #fibrolife) has been helping me without the physiotherapy I so need. They are so cheap, easy to use and take wherever you go.
This is one I haven’t tried because of accessibility. In New Zealand some things just aren’t available, they are super expensive or shipping from overseas is prohibitive. But loads of people are talking about it.
Some people swear by foam rollers, and I like them, but they are not as accessible as the other items for mobility. They are affordable and easy to learn to use.
This is always on my list of important items for pain management. Heat is simultaneously relaxing and soothing.
The Practical Thing That Can Help But You Can’t Touch
It is yoga. Gentle stretches, breathing, restorative yoga and Yoga Nidra.
Why? Because calming your central nervous system and gently stretching will help relieve tension.
How can you try these things? My free 10 minute yoga for fibromyalgia series.
Practical Things to Help You With Trigger Points Summary
I have shared quite a lot here in this post. From a brief introduction to what trigger points are, my experience, key ways to treat them, physical items to help you and an intangible way to help them. But nothing will help unless you try something.
Tell us: What have you tried? What will you try?