Empower yourself to get better
Following on from my article on how to avoid becoming a chronic pain sufferer, I would like to continue that topic of pain by discussing trigger points.
Firstly, remember that pain is an ‘alarm bell’ to warn you that something is wrong. It is important that pain is not ignored and that you seek early help from a healthcare professional. Pain is not necessarily felt at the source of the problem. Therefore, it can be difficult to self-diagnose the root cause of pain. As an Osteopath, my interest is in mechanical musculoskeletal pain and it has been suggested that a large proportion of this type of pain may be related to trigger points.
Trigger points are described as a sensitive area in the muscle that is painful on compression. When pressure is applied to a trigger point, pain can be referred to another area in the body. Locating trigger points can be useful in identifying the source of the pain.
You may well have consulted a therapist, such as myself, for pain in the past only to discover that it was far more complicated than you initially thought. When pain becomes chronic / persistent, trigger points can sometimes complicate the presenting symptoms and overshadow the original problem.
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger point therapy is not a miracle cure for chronic pain but it can greatly ease the pain. It is a useful technique that involves applying direct sustained pressure to a point. The joy is that you can use it at home to manage and control your pain.
One question I’m often asked is how painful should it be? As a rule of thumb, the pressure on a trigger point should generate a strong pain but it should relieve and feel good. If you are gritting your teeth, you need to go more gently.
Our team of Osteopaths use trigger point therapy as part of the treatment plan and we encourage our patients to try the techniques at home.
However, some trigger points may be more difficult to reach and in those situations, it can be helpful to use a self-help tool. The Odiham Clinic stocks a selection of these tools, some of which are shown, but please do not confuse the Spikey Ball with the tumble dryer balls – it is something quite different!
On occasions, our Osteopaths may recommend using acupuncture / dry needling as part of the treatment plan. This involves very fine needles being inserted directly into the trigger points to desensitise the area.
So, if you’re in pain, why not book an appointment with us to find out the source of your pain – and empower yourself to get better.