I'm not sure where to post this so I will try here first. I discovered last year that I have trigger points in my muscles. A chiropractor treated me for pain in my arm and neck. I was also treated by a PT for knee pain, but discovered that I had severely tight muscles in my leg as well. The trigger points in my arm are back, and they are getting worse all over, in my back and legs as well. I also finally have an explanation for my TMJ and ear problems. Anyway, does anyone have any recommendations or advice, or know what type of professional is the best for treating these?
Hi, Colinette. I also have lots of trouble with trigger points.
The best strategies I've found are:
1) Massage therapy. I had to try several to find a good one, but now I adore her. Get one every week if you can afford it. I just have to be careful not to let her press too hard, because if it's very painful, it's doing more harm than good.
2) Trigger point injections. The doctor injects a little drop of lidocaine into the actual trigger point. If he's found the right spot, the whole thing will release all at once. It feels very strange for a moment! The benefits last anywhere from a week to a few months, and I get them every time I have a flare. It's important to find a doctor who does this a lot so he places the injections correctly. If the shots are placed incorrectly, they are useless.
3) Foam rolling. I bought myself a device called a foam roller, and I actually roll back and forth on it to break up the knots.
4) Exercise. SOME exercise is absolutely vital, but you have to be careful. Conditioning pilates or yoga is great. When I'm feeling awful, I do just the warmup routine from pilates, and it really loosens things up. When I'm feeling well, I do weight lifting, to stay strong. I just stretch really well before and afterwards and use really careful form to avoid making my muscles worse.
It's good to understand what's going on, it really helps. Oh! One last thing. If you can buy the book "Trigger point self help manual," do so. It's so super useful.
Thank you so much for this response. I've read about these different treatments, but I wasn't sure which was best or most helpful. It is good to know about the yoga also.
I thought that once a trigger point was "released" or "unknotted" that one was good to go, but it seems from what I'm reading, that is not necessarily true. I assumed mine were from years of stress and sitting all day at a desk job. I didn't become aware of them until I quit my job, changed my daily physical routine and actually had less stress in my life!
I really appreciate what you have said here and I hope to incorporate more stretching and yoga. But I dread having these trigger points flare up all of the time. Is there nothing that cures them or preventative?
Basically, if you have the tendency to develop a lot of trigger points, that tendency may always be with you. However, if you treat them regularly, they stay small and less painful. Maintaining good posture and avoiding awkward positions also helps.
So, when you find something that helps, just keep doing it.