Myofascial Pain and Trigger Points
I had been looking into what causes myofascial trigger points and pain and how working on them relieved the pain. I came across this study, mechanisms of myofascial pain, which gave some great insights into what causes a myofascial trigger point, what keeps them hanging around, what causes them to be painful, and how to get rid of them.
Some of the key things I noted:
Trigger points may occur from muscle overuse, trauma, psychological stress.
They seem to do two main things:
Reduce the excitability of the central nervous system
The sustained contraction leads to increased metabolic stress and reduces blood flow. This increases myokines, inflammatory cytokines and neurotransmitters.
Working on a trigger point:
Disrupts dysfunctional endplates
Increase sarcomere length (too much contraction from sarcomere increases myofascial trigger point)
Reduces the overlapping actin and myosin filaments
Decreases acetylcholine levels and neuromuscular junction response
Reduces sarcomere contraction which increases blood flow and oxygenation
Activates inhibitory pain pathways
Increase B-endorphin and TNF Alpha, decreases substance P (associated with pain and inflammation)
I highly recommend you take a look into the study and see what your personal take-away's are. You may learn a few things that you can apply on yourself.