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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:

  1. Reduce the excitability of the central nervous system

  2. 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

  • Decreases neurotransmitters, cytokines and interleukins within the extracellular fluid

  • 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.


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