Many people think of joints, bones, and the skeletal system when they think of chiropractic, but in fact, the muscles also play an integral part in supporting the body. The muscles are layers and interwoven work to move and stabilize the spine, facilitate the movement of the body’s joints, and aid in respiration. When there is pain within this system, chiropractic can be a very effective treatment. More patients are turning to chiropractic care to treat a variety of painful conditions because it does not use addictive pharmaceuticals with unpleasant side effects; it is completely natural. Chiropractic can also keep patients from requiring surgery in many cases. So when it comes to myofascial pain and trigger points, this form of treatment is often considered optimal.
What is Myofascial Pain?
In simple terms, myofascial pain is simply pain in the muscles. When you break down the word, “myo” means muscle and “fascia” refers to the connective tissue that are interwoven throughout the body.
The pain originates in specific trigger points that are located in the muscles and fascia at various areas of the body. The pain can range in intensity from mild and annoying to severe and debilitating.
What are Trigger Points?
Trigger points are tightened, hypersensitive spots that can be located in any muscle. Different people may have different trigger points. It isn’t like specific lower back pain or neck pain which occur in specific areas of the body. Trigger points can vary from person to person.
When trigger points form, they become nodules or spots that exist in one of the muscle’s taut bands. The patient may experience a variety of symptoms including pain, weakness, burning, tingling, and other symptoms.
What often makes trigger points difficult to locate is that they cause what is known as referred pain. In other words, the person may experience the pain at the exact location of the trigger point, or the pain can be referred to other areas in the body. Referred pain usually has fairly consistent pain patterns so it can be traced to the origin – eventually.
Around 85% of the pain that individuals experience is attributed to myofascial pain. The trigger points determine whether the pain is chronic or acute. It is a condition that is very common.
How do Trigger Points Form?
Trigger points form when the muscle undergoes trauma of some type. The trauma can come from disease, accidents, work related conditions (from persistent, repetitive motion), and sports injuries.
Activities or habits that place a repetitive, long term strain on the muscles can also cause trigger points. Poor posture, improper ergonomics, and repetitive movements are the most common of these types of activities. Emotional and physical stress are often identified as causes of irritating trigger points.
Benefits of Chiropractic for Myofascial Pain and Trigger Points
Chiropractic care is often a preferred treatment for myofascial pain due to its effectiveness and drug free approach. Patients who undergo treatment will usually experience a dramatic decrease in their pain level or it will be eliminated altogether.
They also enjoy increased strength, flexibility, and range of motion. With continued chiropractic care, they will find that they have more endurance for work and recreational activities and even sleep better. It should be noted that sleep disruptions are a common complaint associated with myofascial pain.
Overall, chiropractic can give patients with myofascial pain a better quality of life with decreased incidence of injury. They are often able to lower their pain medication or eliminate it altogether.
Because chiropractic is a whole-body approach, patients learn healthy habits including diet, exercise, and mental wellness. Most of all, they can live with less pain or no pain at all.