Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Some day I will no longer have to worry about the aching of this body. Until that time I need to manage it. So many suffer from trigger point pain. Trigger points can be described as those knots or sensitive areas in soft tissue. It can feel like a nagging ache in a specific area of muscle. It occurs when there is a lack of blood flow to an area (for a variety of reasons), and there is in turn a lack of oxygen and that area of tissue becomes acidic. This sets off a cycle of further pain and irritation which can be very difficult to break! Today I’d like to share some self-management tips on trigger point pain, specifically that of the shoulder and upper back. First of all warm muscles stretch better than cold muscles. Work on your trigger points after a vigorous walk or work-out or hot shower. My “arsenal ” for trigger points can be seen below: tennis ball, hook or theracane type massager, and Rapid Fire.
The hook massager is great for reaching those trigger points in your upper back yourself. You can also self-massage them with a tennis ball placed between your trigger point area and the wall or floor. I have found Rapid Fire to work really well on trigger points as well, and have fairly long lasting relief. I have more information about Rapid Fire on my home page.
The next line of defense against trigger points is stretching, posture, and strengthening (strengthening may need to wait until trigger point has calmed down).
- Doorway or corner stretch -stand in a doorway or corner with both arms on the wall slightly reaching up, lean forward until you feel a stretch and hold for 30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times
- Chin tuck -gently push your head straight back as if trying to make a double chin and hold for 5 seconds, repeat 5 times
- Neck stretch -sitting upright place both hands behind your low back, gently lean your head to the right until you feel a stretch and hold 30 seconds- repeat 2 times and then repeat on the left side
- Shoulder blade squeeze- Stand and squeeze your shoulder blades back and together, hold 5 seconds and repeat 10 times
- Wall Slide- Stand in a slight squat position with your head, back and arms against a flat wall (arms are up at 90 degrees flush against the wall as you are able – you may have to work into this position over time). Slide arms slowly up and down the wall trying to maintain contact with the wall and repeat 5-10 times.
- Superman- Lie on your stomach on a firm surface with arms outstretched from your sides (elbows straight and thumbs toward ceiling). Slowly raise and lower your arms toward the ceiling while trying to maintain your shoulder blades squeezed together. Repeat 5-10 times slowly.
- 2 way plank- maintain a plank position (which is also great for your abdominals) while keeping your shoulder blades engaged and steady. Start where you can 10-20 seconds and work up from there! The way I like to do this is 30 seconds with straight arm plank, and 30 seconds forearm plank.
Disclaimer: As always these exercises and self help tips may not be for everyone. There can be many causes of trigger point pain (body asymmetry, trauma, habitual postures, repetitive injuries, etc). There is a time when you may need further diagnostics from the health professional of your choice.