NATURAL PAIN RELIEF: a novel approach
A simple way to release pain from trigger points
Most of us will suffer from stiff, achy muscles and tendons and can trace the pain back to painful “knots” in various parts of our bodies. This aching may last for a long time, even after applying various forms of treatment and using anti-inflammatories. While most of these aches will heal over time without treatment, the process is often slow and debilitating. In some cases, a lack of early intervention can lead to more serious symptoms, and temporary or permanent disability. Sadly, people often take little or no remedial action, most often because the costs of manual therapy can be prohibitive.
The good news is that the vast majority of this type of chronic pain can be treated simply and effectively by addressing the root cause, the irritated nervous system. Indeed, this kind of pain has been attributed to the activation of Trigger Points, hyperirritable spots in the fascia surrounding skeletal muscle. They are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers often tender to touch. The term itself was coined in 1942 by Drs. Travell and Simons, who hold that most of the common everyday pain is caused by myofascial trigger points and that ignorance of that basic concept could inevitably lead to false diagnoses and the ultimate failure to deal effectively with pain.
How does the hyperirritability happen?
It involves the peripheral nervous system and the neurotransmitters that acts as its agents. The theory is that trigger points form from excessive release of acetylcholine, which overstimulates muscle fibers and causes them to contract for excessive periods of time. This in turn will compress local blood supply and restrict the energy needs of the local region, and thus cause pain. Indeed, the trigger point has been found to have an abnormal biochemical composition with elevated concentrations of acetylcholine, noradrenaline and serotonin. (Travell and Simons 1999)
Trigger points form in muscles as a local contraction in a small number of muscle fibers inside of a larger muscle. These in turn can pull on tendons and ligaments associated with the muscle and can cause pain even deep within a joint where there are no muscles.
Once one of these trigger points is activated, it can elicit pain not only in its own surrounding but further out in other parts of the body. This would be experienced as “referred pain”. The activation of TP’s gives rise to a distinct pattern of pain that can be predictably mapped out. Indeed, Drs. Travell and Simons have created a very precise map of the pattern of distribution, activation and radiation of pain.
Trigger point pain is usually experienced as a deep aching, sometimes sharp especially with deep palpation. Movement and pressure may make the pain worse. The intensity of pain will vary according factors such as:
• The degree of trigger point irritability
• The site of trigger point (some areas are more sensitive)
• Any associated tissue damage
• How long the trigger point has already been activated
Activation of trigger points may be caused by a number of factors, including acute or chronic muscle overload, activation by other trigger points that cause a chain reaction, psychological distress (via systemic inflammation), direct trauma to the region, radiculopathy (irritability of a nerve root) , infections and various other health issues.
What can be done about it?
Trigger point therapy uses a variety of techniques to “deactivate” these painful knots and make them disappear.
What is one trying to accomplish?
The primary goals are as follows:
– reduce the pain and spasticity
– lessen the pain feedback pathways . Yes, whenever we are working with the nervous system, we are always dealing with feedback loops that keep certain processes activated. In this particular case, we want to INTERRUPT the feedback loop so that the activation can be TURNED OFF.
– stimulate the blood supply helping to remove debris and toxins from the area.
– encourage the release of powerful pain-killing endorphins and prevent their breakdown for more long-lasting effectiveness.
To this date, the primary approach of “trigger point therapy” uses physical techniques, which definitely have their validity. The main idea is to
– stretch out tight muscles, which will indirectly affect other tissues
– open out the plastic-wrap-like myofascial bag that surrounds your muscles
These methods are excellent but often need to be repeated over longer stretches of time and require the help of a well-trained practitioner.
At the Helios Academy for Wellness, we are offering a novel approach to the treatment of pain caused by the activation of trigger points.
We base our approach on the concept that aspects of the peripheral nervous system are overstimulated and use the topical application of amino acids and neurotransmitters as a way to downregulate the activation and accomplish all goals mentioned above with the use of 2 topical creams.
– is highly effective in reducing even chronic pain
– reduces pain in a remarkably short period of time.
– leads to long-lasting results
– has no toxic side effects
– engenders a greater overall sense of well-being.
How does it accomplish that? Please stay tuned for our next post.
by Angela Ingendaay, M.D.