If you are anything like the millions of Americans that deal with pain, then you probably have experienced a trigger point at some point in your life. More commonly known as “knots”, trigger points are one or more irritable spots found within a taut band of muscle or in the muscle’s fascia. A trigger point is painful and can also produce referred tenderness or pain in a location other than where the trigger point is found.
A question I get all the time is, “Why do I have trigger points?” While it is usually very difficult to give one definitive reason as to why one person developed a trigger point, there are several theories out there trying to explain this phenomenon.
The Motor End Plate Hypothesis states that an increase in a neurotransmitter called Acetylcholine is being released beyond what is needed by the muscle. This in turn causes the muscle or muscles to stay in a prolonged state of contraction.
The Energy Crisis Theory believes that injury to the muscle whether it was macro (think car accident) or micro-(think repetitive stress injury) trauma causes an increase of calcium release. This causes the muscle to shorten which in turn creates compromise in circulation. The reduction in oxygen supply prevents the cells from producing enough ATP which is needed to actively relax the muscle.
The Radiculopathic Model for Muscular Pain suggests that neural injury or compression and partial denervation creates hypersensitivity to all structures innervated by the compromised nerve(s). In this instance a nerve that was injured at or near the spine may affect muscles all the way down the leg.
Although the cause for a trigger point may be different from person to person one thing is constant: trigger points hurt. If you have a question about your condition or the information mentioned in this article, please feel free to contact us at 479-402-9400.