DR. SCOTT COOK: Take care to prevent muscle knots
The experience of pain causes all sorts of unpleasant, physical reactions. Tight muscles are one such response. Muscular tightness may progress to localized knots, known as trigger points and even cause muscle spasms to occur. These responses are never a good thing and usually result in more widespread and intense pain.
Trigger points are painful nodules in muscular tissue, commonly found in the upper back, lower back and gluteal muscles. Trigger points are frequently chronic, persisting from day to day without much relief.
When someone says, “My muscles are all in knots,” those knots are most likely trigger points. Your neck is one of the most common places to get trigger points.
Your neck muscles are working every waking hour of your day. They’re constantly supporting your head, adjusting your posture and working with your shoulder muscles.
The formal definition of a trigger point describes a localized region of tenderness, located in a tight band of muscle. Trigger points are associated with a palpable twitch in response to deep pressure over tight bands of muscle.
Such deep pressure usually results in pain radiating from the trigger point to the surrounding soft tissues. If the twitch response is not present, the localized muscle tightness cannot accurately be termed a trigger point. These definitions are of importance when making decisions about appropriate care for painful muscle knots.
As with any care management decision-making process, some procedures make sense and others do not. Medications are often a go-to by many patients, but the problem with many medications is that they do not address the underlying cause of the painful muscle knots. These painful muscle knots arise as a consequence of mechanical disturbances and stress in the rest of the body.
Trigger points arise in areas such as the shoulders, upper back/neck, and low back due to chronic issues elsewhere in the body, typically involving the spinal column itself and the small muscles that enable these spinal bones to move.
The solution to most types of musculoskeletal pain involves getting to the core of the problem. The most common cause is often biomechanical. For example, pain in the neck or low back frequently results from a lack of full mobility of the spine and irritation and inflammation of spinal muscles and ligaments.
Bigger problems may ensue when this irritation and inflammation begins to affect spinal nerves. Nerve inflammation may then involve other tissues and organs, with subsequent development of various symptoms and disorders. Trigger points are best managed by directing care to the underlying issues. Regular chiropractic care helps restore maximum function to both your spinal column and your spinal nerves. As the biomechanics faults are corrected, the trigger points themselves begin to resolve. The long-term result is enhanced health and well-being for you and your family.
Call your local chiropractor and begin living the life you deserve, pain free.