Trigger points are muscle nodules that many researchers believe are a source of pain and referred pain in the body. These spots are used in trigger point therapy either by massage, chiropractors, or through acupuncture methods to release stress and tension in the body. While some see great promise in trigger point research and trigger point therapy, many are still in disbelief of the practicality of the use.
There are six ways to define trigger points in the body. They are either primary or secondary trigger points, active or latent trigger points, or key or satellite trigger points. These definitions tell the differences between the quality of the trigger point.
Primary/Secondary Trigger Points
Primary trigger points will activate a secondary trigger point but not vice versa. These can be treated and released.
Secondary trigger points do not go away if the primary trigger point is treated.
Active/Latent Trigger Points
Active trigger points will actively put pain in the area or to another location.
Latent trigger points do not cause pain in the area or other locations until stress is applied to activate it.
Key/Satellite Trigger Points
Key trigger points will refer pain in a nerve pathway to activate a latent trigger point or create a latent trigger point.
Satellite trigger points are activated by key trigger points. They go away if the key trigger point is treated.
Trigger points can be activated by stress to the muscles, stress to the mental state of the person, by disease, infection and lifestyle choices like smoking. The healthier the body the less likely for trigger points. They can appear in muscles, tendons, joints, and other areas of the body. They feel like knots under the skin, and with some therapy work and proper care of them, they can release and feel like normal muscle tissue again. Without removing the cause of the trigger point, the patient is doomed to get more and more. Stress needs to be released from the body else it is stored in these muscle pockets releasing pain throughout the body.
Once a trigger point has been released and worked through, a series of other alterative needs can keep it from coming back, or at least coming back in the same intensity. These include deep breathing exercises, yoga, and stretching muscles and joints to stay limber. Movement is good to release the stress from both the body and from the mind.