Pain Trigger Points Research Note
By Reader's Digest Editors
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When is pain in your ankle really something else? When its “referred pain” sent by a torn ligament or a strained calf muscle. According to one pain theory, 75% of all pain has roots in another part of the body. When an injury, overuse or another insult harms a muscle, trigger points develop that send pain to other spots via your fascia—the white tissue that covers and connects muscles. Joint pain may come from tense muscles; a toothache may be a strained jaw muscle. Focusing treatment on the trigger points, rather than the painful area, can bring relief quickly, proponents say. And often, it can be done at home with fingertip pressure or self-massage.Fast Facts:
- Aging, inactivity, a muscle injury, and stress increase your risk for the development of trigger points in muscles—also called myofascial pain syndrome.
- Trigger points are found in muscles, but can also create symptoms like a twitching eyelid, numbness in your hands and feet, or a gallbladder attack.
- When trigger points in abdominal muscles are activated, you may get nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, indigestion or, in the cases of babies, colic.
- A trigger point on your shoulder near your neck—in the trapezius muscle—may be the cause of headaches, migraines and eye pain.
- If massaging a trigger point doesn’t relieve pain, your doctor may relieve tension by inserting a needle into a point or inject an anesthetic or steroid.
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