In this post I will explain how and why trigger points can trigger and perpetuate chronic pain.
The reason for this is that trigger points can increase the sensitivity of the nervous system.
This is because they permanently send “warning signals” (nociception) to the spinal cord. There the signals get “checked” and, if necessary, passed on to the brain.
In the long run, this can lead to an “irritation” of the spinal cord, making it more sensitive.
As a result, warning signals in the spinal cord get sometimes even amplified.
The brain is then supplied with “false” and “distorted” information that does not reflect the true state of the body.
Sensitivity to stimuli from the body increases, chronic pain can develop and the development can be favored, respectively. This mechanism may also contribute to the perpetuation of chronic pain.
A self-treatment of trigger points helps to reduce the warning signals (nociceptive stimuli) sent to the spinal cord by trigger points and thus contributes to the calming/soothing of a sensitized nervous system.
Therefore, I believe that the treatment of trigger points in chronic pain is an important component and should always be considered. Even though other pillars are important, too.
The nervous system should be relieved of the flood of warning signals generated by trigger points. This helps relieving chronic pain, and it helps preventing it, too – at least to a certain degree.
In some cases, chronic pain can be even completely relieved by a trigger point self-treatment – of course, only if the pain was triggered purely by trigger points. But this can be the case.
Sometimes trigger points have existed for years and have been sending warning signals to the spinal cord. Through a self-treatment these can be “switched off” or “turned down”.
Thus, a trigger point self-treatment can help to counteract the sensitization of the nervous system and the centralization of pain – two factors that favor the development and perpetuation of chronic pain.
I hope this short article has helped you to better understand the connection between chronic pain and trigger points, and the potential value of a trigger point self-treatment.