Last Updated on October 26, 2021 by melissanreynolds
What are trigger points? Are they part of fibromyalgia, or separate? This post delves into the topic.
Having been plagued by spots of extreme tightness on various parts of my body for years that numerous physical therapists have attempted to release and only ever achieved a small but fleeting degree of success, I am keenly interested in the study of trigger points.
It started with an article that I’ve long since lost. It showed me a few key trigger points to do for my shoulders and neck to release stiffness and pain. I use these every night when I wake in pain due to my neck.
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This fantastic article was posted on Fibro Daze recently and gives a good explanation of trigger points and has a video showing you how to deal with your neck to relieve dizziness.
Now I am reading The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief by Clair and Amber Davies.
I am loving it!
My Trigger Points
Because I have so many active trigger points, I had to start with the ones that were screaming the loudest. My neck. I have been working on my sternocleidomastoid and trapezius muscles. The book gives an overview of the muscle, the symptoms the trigger points in these muscles cause, where pain is referred to, causes and treatment. It includes great instructions on how to deal with them safely, as pressure on arteries can cause havoc.
The theory is that you deal to your trigger points three times a day until they are no longer sensitive to touch. I am unsure how helpful this will end up being. I have a lot for trigger points and my body overreacts to stimuli. For example, I get sore legs if I don’t exercise enough and if I overdo it!
This is a big piece of work (one that will span years – I wrote this post in 2015 and updated it again at the end of 2021!). But I’m game! Giving myself the ability to treat my body is a big opportunity. It gives me power. It gives me control. It gives me the opportunity to help myself, not helplessly wait for my next treatment session with my muscles clenching tighter and tighter!
I have also made the decision to try trigger point injections for my neck if I can’t relieve the daily tightness. I can’t go back to work and look after my baby if I continue to have daily tightness and pain to the point of headaches, nausea and dizziness.
It’s very exciting. I’ll check in with it in a few weeks. Has anyone else tackled their own pressure points and found success?
Update March 2018
Trigger points have become such an important issue for me to face since realised I had myofascial pain syndrome. The trigger points in my neck being the biggest issue I have fought for a long time. I see a physiotherapist every three weeks still. I also self-treat at home with my theracane trigger point massager, which I adore. It is so helpful to be able to treat myself at home and not hurt my poor fingers with the level of pressure that I need.
Since I wrote this post, and the full introduction to Myofascial Pain Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, so much has changed for me.
Perpetuating factors – I have radically reduced the amount of time I am at the computer which is a big perpetuating factor for my neck.
Management mechanisms – on the whole scale I use LDN and Recovery Factors which improves my overall health, and Yoga Nidra helps me keep my nervous system in check. These big things reduce the impact of trigger points.
The physiotherapist usually helps me keep the sub occipital and trapezius trigger points in check with a gentle form of dry needling. Acupuncture needles are gently inserted into the trigger point and then allowed to rest, unhindered, while she uses the ultrasound machine on my lower back and glute points. During lockdown I have been unable to see her for a few months. It was difficult but I managed with my at-home treatments. Such as my peanut ball, Theracane massager, gentle stretches and heating pad. As I am nursing, the only medicinal options I have are paracetamol and ibuprofen – which I am using sparingly to try to avoid the worst of the headaches.
Overall, learning to manage trigger points have made a massive improvement to my pain levels and quality of life.
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5 thoughts on “Trigger Points and Fibromyalgia”
I am a big believer of trigger point therapy for pain. I researched and wrote about it here. http://www.mypelvichealth.ca/trigger-point-therapy-pelvic-pain/ Looking forward to how you make out with it. The trigger point therapy book by Clair Davies is a good one.