To Poke Or Not To Poke?!
Hello fam, friends and strangers alike!
What is a trigger point?
Well despite it being that 'hurt so good' kind of a spot that I can press into and you hatefully love me for it, it's merely a cluster of chaos. You can think of your nervous system as the wiring to your muscles and sometimes that wiring get's a little too excited. At times these currents are too plentiful and send signals to your muscles to act out of the norm. This results in tight little clusters of chaos, we call taut bands or trigger points. They are different chemically, electrically and are usually responsive to increased stress or manual pressure. They can pull on joints, tendons and even refer pain in dispersed vague patterns. Knowing these trigger points/hot spots are just overly sensitive spots where our body doesn't do what we want it to, we don't know much for certain about their nature. The concept of 'muscle knots' meaning cramped/shortened areas hasn't been confirmed by any strong science. Quite simply, your response with 'ouf... or I can sure feel that!' confirms that I am pressing into one of these trigger points/hot spots. So we know they are unpleasant but then what can we do about the sensitive spots to calm them down? Quite simply, give them 'INPUT'. Input means a new message, to hopefully change your brain's OUPUT. You can:
1) POKE IT.
Sure the one point may not be the root cause of your pain nor is poking the most efficient technique. Yet so, at times a good poke means the wiring stops being so excited when you block it for a bit with different input. A lacross, tenis ball or lover's gentle elbow will fair; 3x30 seconds or so then rest easy for a bit.
2) HEAT IT.
Treat chaos with chaos; particles giving off heat is a simple simple way to calm your nervous system down, so your brain stops saying 'danger danger' for a bit and instead says ' heat heat'. There are many forms of heat; hot showers/baths, hot packs, and heat generating creams that use camphor or pepper concentrates.
3) ASSESS IT.
I'm not at all bias when I say to go see a PHYSIO lol!
A registered orthopaedic Physiotherapist is trained to assess your trigger point patterns/pain presentation and clinically reason through a few tools. It could be coming all the way from the spinal root, meaning centrally or more distal in the body. A good physio can then reason and utilize tools such as manual therapy, dry needling or exercise to change the input. It is important to acknowledge though that body's aren't like computers with a programming language; so we do our best with evidence informed therapy to evolve your treatment plan as your body responds accordingly.