The key in treating referred myofascial pain patterns
Knowledge of trigger points comes right out of Western medical research.
Most of what is known about trigger points is very well documented in the two volume medical text "Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual", by Janet Travell, M.D. and David Simons, M.D. These books contain literally all there is to know about trigger points.
Travell and Simons describe a trigger point as simply a small contraction knot in muscle tissue.
It often feels like a partly cooked piece of macaroni or like a pea buried deep in the muscle.
A trigger point affects a muscle by keeping it tense. And as they restrict range of the motion of a muscle often times trigger points weaken an affected muscle.
The constant tension on the muscle's attachments, producing symptoms in closest to it joints. The tension in the fibers of the trigger point itself restricts circulation in its immediate area.
The resulting accumulation of the byproducts of metabolism, as well as deprivation of the oxygen and nutrients needed for metabolism can perpetuate trigger points for months, or even years, unless some intervention occurs.
The difficulty in treating symptoms of mayofascial pain is that trigger points typically send pain to some other site.
Most conventional treatment of pain is based on the assumption that the cause of pain will be found at the site of the pain.
The referred pain is what has always thrown everybody off, including most doctors and much of the rest of the health-care community.
According to Travell, M.D. and Simons, M.D., conventional treatments for pain so often fail because they focus on the pain itself, treating the site of the pain, and overlooking and failing to treat the cause, which may be some distance away.
Even worse than routinely treating the site of the pain is the pharmaceutical treatment of the whole body for what is usually a local problem.
Painkilling drugs, the increasingly expensive treatment of choice these days, give us the illusion that something good is happening, when in reality they only mask the problem.
Most common pain, like headaches, muscle aches, and joint pain, is a warning - a protective response to muscle overuse or trauma.
Pain is telling you that something is wrong and needs correction. It's not good medicine to kill the messenger and ignore the message.
When pain is seen in its true role as the messenger and not the affliction itself, treatment can be directed to the cause of pain.
Luckily, referred pain is now known to occur in predictable patterns.
The valuable medical research made by Travell, M.D. and Simons, M.D., has outlined these very patterns. Once you know where to look, trigger points are easily located by touch and deactivated.
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