TRIGGER POINTS ARE FASCINATING BECAUSE IN MANY WAYS THEY MAKE NO SENSE AT ALL.
Trigger point referral patterns follow no logical pattern whatsoever!
The referred pain does not follow dermatomes, and it cannot be explained by findings on a neurological examination. This means that a trigger point in a muscle can refer pain into an area of the body that is innervated by a completely different spinal nerve! Sometimes these pain referral patterns get pretty crazy. For instance, a certain trigger point in your soleus (calf) can refer pain into your sacrum (low back). How often do you look to your calf to relieve the pain in your butt?
Trigger points refer some really weird symptoms other than pain:
Trigger points in abdominal muscles can cause heart arrhythmia, nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, projectile vomiting, and urinary incontinence. Trigger points can also have autonomic effects that verge on the unbelievable: red eyes, excessive tearing, blurred vision, tinnitus, droopy eyelids, excessive salivation, persistent nasal secretion, and goose bumps. They can cause dizziness and imbalance and distort weight perception of objects you hold.
Trigger point pain can be debilitating.
We are not talking about your everyday post-workout muscle soreness. Patients have rated trigger point pain as severe as cystitis, angina, and shingles.3 Pain from a trigger point typically feels deep and achy, although certain movements can sharpen the pain. Trigger point pain can come and go, and it is notoriously difficult to pinpoint its exact location
Vitamin deficiencies and metabolic disorders could be to blame.
Trigger points are typically caused by muscle overload, repetitive movement, or postural stress. However, there are a number of nutritional and chemical imbalances that interfere with muscle metabolism and thus perpetuate trigger points.4,5 In particular, inadequate levels of vitamins B1, B6, B12, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium have been shown to correlate with chronic pain caused by trigger points. Metabolic disorders including hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, anemia, and high levels of uric acid in the blood may also perpetuate trigger points.
There is an uncanny overlap between trigger points and acupuncture points.
One study found a 71% correspondence between the locations of trigger points and classical acupuncture points; another paper found that 92% of the 255 documented trigger points correspond to acupuncture points, and that 79.5 percent have similar pain indications.6,7 In addition, the referral patterns and satellite trigger point chains tend to follow acupuncture meridians.8
While the referral patterns of trigger points often seem to make no sense at all, acupuncture meridians (developed more than 2,000 years ago) often map these referrals out perfectly. Clearly, the ancient Chinese were astute enough to recognize the importance of many common trigger point locations and to include them in their acupuncture charts.