For those who have been researching fibromyalgia, they often hear the terms “trigger points” and “tender points”. Many people seem to think that these can be used interchangeable. But, they cannot!
There are two totally different types of points that fibromyalgia sufferers are dealing with daily. Keep in mind that trigger points are often referred to as TRPs in the fibromyalgia world.
Another common misconception is that this trigger point is just one point on the body. That is not necessarily true, in most cases, a trigger point is a taut band that is pliable to touch rather than just a single point.
Trigger Points Versus Tender Points
While many may use these two terms interchangeably, they are not. To understand this more, you must understand the different between trigger points and tender points. Trigger points are primarily caused by myofascial constriction.
This is going to cause the pain to radiate to other areas of the body that are near the actually point of pain. This pain is not acting along, which is one of the main differences between trigger points and tender points.
Tender points are a group of 12 to 18 tender points throughout the body that hurt when pressure is applied, which is not how trigger points are working at all.
Another important distinction to make between these two issues, is that there is no specific test for trigger points. There is a test for tender points.
With a tender points test, a doctor will press these points throughout the body to determine the pain scale level the person is experiencing.
This cannot be done for trigger points, as the pain may be felt in the lower back, but the trigger point could actually be in the knee or in the shoulders.
Trigger points are going to have layers of issues through the muscle groups, muscle fibers and tendons that are throughout the body. It can even occur in the organs if they have been compromised, for whatever reason.
Therefore, if a person were to show on a map of the body of where they are feeling pain, it is not uncommon for the person to draw lines of pain throughout the body due to these trigger points.
Areas in the Body for Trigger Points: Hands, Chest and Ribs
For those who are looking as to where these trigger points could be located, they should realize that there could be numerous different areas. And while some people may have these located in one area, others may not. It all truly depends up on the person.
One of the most common areas for trigger points is around the sternum. This is the reason that many fibromyalgia patients complain of having chest pain.
These trigger points are located throughout the chest area, and it can often cause a person to have heart attack like pains in their chest.
For those who experience rib area pain such as a painful stabbing or burning sensation, they may be experiencing a trigger point that is located near the rib area.
This has its own name: Costochondritis. For those whose suffer with this pain it can come on suddenly, or it can be a chronic issue that you have to deal with.
The hands and arms are also a common area for experiencing pain. In fact, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is often experiencing by many of those who suffer with fibromyalgia. This is why fibromyalgia patients are told to limit repetitive motions if they can to avoid having to deal with this.
When a person does perform a repetitive motion, they are actually going to activate trigger points throughout their arms and hands that can lead to a lot of pain. This can lead to a person no longer being able to do those things that they once done, if they are not careful.
Head, Neck and Skull Area for Trigger Points
Those who experience a lot of sinus pain, TMJ or even migraine headaches may be dealing with trigger points that are located in the back of the head, neck and skull area. These trigger points are slightly different than what most people think.
These are not aggravated by a physical activity such as doing a repetitive motion, these can be aggravated by a chemical sensitive. For example, many people with fibromyalgia find that certain smells can cause them to have headaches.
What is interesting, is that you may be smelling this and think it smells fine, however, your body reacts with pain. This is why many fibromyalgia sufferers try to avoid heavily scented areas if at all possible.
Pelvic and Leg Trigger Points
There are several trigger points that can be seen in the legs and pelvis area. In fact, this can affect many organs in the body as well.
For example, bladder symptoms can be aggravated or develop due to the trigger points that are in this area.
The trigger points in this area can also make it hard to ascend and descend stairs, or even do those normal activities that you once did.
Those who have knee pain and also have fibromyalgia often find that it is these trigger points that have caused their issues!
Trigger Points: The Bottom of the Feet
This is probably one of the most painful trigger points that you must deal with when you have fibromyalgia. Why is this? If the feet hurt, you are going to change the way that you walk to avoid sudden pain.
In return, this can result in your hips becoming out of line and having pain radiate up to your shoulder. This is why many doctors recommend that a person utilize physical therapy for dealing with these trigger points as they do not want these trigger points affecting their entire life.
Trigger points are not something that you should dismiss. They can be extremely painful. However, with the proper exercises and routines, you may find that you can downgrade just how intense these trigger points are for you.