Trigger Points are tight bands within the muscles (knots) that cause pain and lack of mobility within that muscle. In the vast majority of cases the pain is felt in a different area than that particular muscle (referred pain).
There are about four hundred muscles in the human body and any one of them can develop trigger points, potentially causing referred pain and dysfunction. Symptoms can range from intolerable, agonizing pain to painless restriction of movement and distortion of posture.
You may have many Trigger Points, but you may only feel a few. The ones that you feel and give you the painful problems are called Active and those that you feel when you press on them are called Latent. The Trigger Points that most clients come to see me about, are the active points. These are the ones that create pain and restrict their motion.
Most of the time, Trigger Points are not located in the same place where you feel symptoms. This means that if you only work on the area where you fell pain, you probably will not get pain relief. For example, Trigger Points in the upper portion of your back (between the neck and your shoulder) can cause you pain in your temples, at the base of your skull, in the side of your jaw and possibly above your ear and over your eye.
When pressure is applied to a Trigger Point it often reproduces the referred pain pattern this muscle is known for. Referred tingling, numbness, or burning sensations are most likely due to Trigger Points contracting around or putting pressure on a nerve. The more intense your pain is, the greater the number of active Trigger Points you’re likely to have.