What’s a Trigger Point?
A trigger point is a tiny bit of muscle tissue that has died and is rotting, (in easy to understand terms.) Because it is irritating to the surrounding muscle cells, they spasm locally, and keep the gunk trapped there. It died for the same reason part of the heart dies in a heart attack: lack of oxygen. It suffocated.
An interesting sign of a “full-blown” trigger point is that not only does it hurt a lot when pressing a finger into it, it also sends pain to seemingly unrelated parts of the body. A great example of this is with a trigger point in the infraspinatus muscle. Say what? Well, it is the muscle that coats the bottom 70% of your “wing-bone”, your scapula. The scapula is a reliable place to find trigger points. It makes sense…it can’t really contract very well because it is “glued” to that bony plate we call the scapula. So the circulation there is bad, to begin with. A perfect breeding ground for trigger points.
If you “squish” a trigger point in the infraspinatus muscle, you will often cause pain radiation up into the shoulder, or down the arm. The thing is, there are no nerves connecting these areas, and so there never was an answer until recently. Some folks speculate that these unrelated tissues are indeed related from embryonic times. As the tissues separated to form the body, they still carry some connection, so that a person will feel pain that seems to refer far away from the trigger point.
Low level laser therapy, (photodynamic therapy,) has a remarkable effect on trigger points, however, I believe they still need to be deeply massaged at least once, to help clear out the dead cells, and the irrititating chemicals they catabolize, (degrade, breakdown,) into.
ZLATKO SIMUNOVIC. Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine & Surgery. AUGUST 1996, 14(4): 163-167. doi:10.1089/clm.1996.14.163.