“My muscles are knotted”. Well, whilst there are no actual ‘knots’ tied in your muscles, you may have what is commonly referred to as a ‘trigger points’. The most accurate description of ‘Trigger Points’ is something along the lines of the following:
“Hyperirritable focus within skeletal muscle, usually located in a “taut” or banded section of the muscle, associated with local twitch response and tenderness and/or referred pain upon manual examination”
Or more simply:
• it’s muscular
• it hurts or is tender
• it’s ‘firm’ and generally ‘twitchy’ when touched, and will refer pain or tenderness in a characteristic pattern
• it exists outside of trauma, inflammation, infection and can’t be explained by a neurological examination
Trigger points can be active (all the time) or latent (reproduce symptoms only when touched), and may be present in one or many muscles. Far from an exact science, it’s thought that the banded section of muscle displays an altered activity pattern which may manifest as muscular pain. My evidence is only anecdotal, but if you’re asking your partner or others to “dig into” that “tender spot” in your back or neck, it might well be a Trigger Point.
Can I ‘switch off’ the trigger you ask? Unfortunately it’s not that easy. As a muscular pain phenomenon, it should be greeted with a more comprehensive assessment, and followed with treatment accordingly. But never fear, there are plenty of good Trigger Point therapy success stories out there, and massage therapy isn’t a bad place to start. Furthermore, in my experience successful treatments are reasonably fast and inexpensive in the general scheme of things.
So, why (k)not try a massage?
See Kelsey or Adam at Chevron Island Physio for Remedial Massage including an assessment of ‘Trigger Points’.
B ExSc, Dip Remedial Massage
Travell, J.G. & Simons, D.G. (1993). Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The trigger point manual. Volumes 1 & 2. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.