Trigger points (TrPs) confuse many people. People who suffer from Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) have tender points that are used for diagnosis, not trigger points. TrPs can lead to Chronic Myofascial Pain (CMP). Trying to explain both of them is really beyond me, but Devin Starlanyl does a great job of making all of it clear. Her web site is great, but believe me, her books are even better!
In any case, I have CMP and FMS. For the past week or so, I haven’t been able to move my neck much because of pain on the right side that referred down my arm and around to my chest. I know I’ve got scar tissue there in my neck, and compression of a nerve between two of the vertebrae, but normally I can move my neck through a full range of motion. I have no idea what happened—maybe I slept wrong? I don’t know, and I haven’t really been sleeping much in any case.
I had my monthly visit with my pain management doctor today, and mentioned the problem. Right off, the PA asked if I wanted to try trigger point injections. Within 15 minutes, the pain was fading. I was afraid it would come right back, but so far it hasn’t. By the time I got home, I was falling asleep in part due to the intense relief.
I definitely hope that I wouldn’t have any particular place that is so painful next month, but I’ll definitely be ready to speak up about whatever is most painful.
If your doctor doesn’t offer trigger point therapy for you, ask about it!
If you’re sure that you have TrPs, you can also try treating them yourself. For laymen, the best book about TrPs is The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by the late Clair Davies. I have a copy, and recommend it. I’ve found that it’s best used in conjunction with a TheraCane, but it seems there are several other nice tools available now, too.
I found it necessary to have someone else help me with the treatments, but they did work. They were more painful than the injections, and you need to do them three times a day. On the other hand, they didn’t require a trip to the doctor or a prescription, and once you learn how to treat yourself you can do it whenever you need it. Our former housemate helped me with the treatments, but I’m hoping that my partner will learn to do them. They do work!