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stiff neck from latent trigger points

Latent Trigger Points

The neglected muscle problem

If you have already seen us at ToThePoint Massage, you will be aware that your muscles harbour an impressive number of sore spots, which are technically called trigger points.

Why pain comes and goes

Although some of your trigger points send out pain signals, most do not. These trigger points are “latent”, which means that they are “sleeping”, but they have the potential to become active at any time. Sometimes a minor movement is enough to trigger them into starting to refer pain.

For example, you might have lower back pain only while you are gardening. What could happen is that you use a specific muscle in a way that it becomes overloaded during this activity. This might activate a certain latent trigger point which in turn triggers pain in your lower back.

By the next day this pain is often gone, but the trigger point remains. You can feel it by pressing on it. While you’re usually not aware of these latent trigger points, they are still there, and they result in dysfunction of the affected muscles.[1]

Too many trigger points cause a chain reaction

Every trigger point stiffens and hardens the affected muscle, both shortening and widening it at the same time. This causes the muscle to react differently, which in turn means it is less and less able to perform the movements it was designed to perform.

While your body continues to use this muscle like it always has, other muscles now are forced to compensate. In no time they too become overworked and react by forming active and latent trigger points themselves. Over time, more and more muscles are affected, and your body becomes more and more dysfunctional.

How do latent trigger points affect your life?

The more trigger points you have, the older you feel. This is because you have developed

  • aches and pains here and there

  • a stiff body

  • restricted movements

  • joint problems

  • tiredness

  • disturbed sleep

  • distorted posture

  • cramps

Don’t neglect your muscles and thereby end up feeling old before your time.

Rather start getting regular massage now, and avoid these problems altogether. It could make all the difference to your quality of life.




Sources: Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, Dr. Janet Travell, Dr. David Simons & Lois Simons, vol 2 ,1993  pages 13, 541ff
[1]page 12
Latent trigger points: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK219241/


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