4. Digastricus – Trigger Point Activation
There are several factors that cause the development of tensions and trigger points in this muscle.
These include among others:
- Trigger points and tensions in the antagonists.
- Active overload.
- External force impact (whiplash).
- Satellite trigger points.
4.1 Trigger points and tensions in the antagonist muscles
Antagonist muscles are those that have the opposite function to the muscle in question.
Since the digastricus opens the jaw, in this case all muscles that close the jaw, are to be called antagonists.
In simple terms, it’s the entire system of muscles of mastication.
If these muscles carry trigger points, they can no longer be “easily” stretched or elongated. However, this is essential when you open the jaw.
Thus, the digastricus must always work against resistance when it opens the jaw.
This can overload it and lead to the activation of trigger points. One of the key antagonists is the masseter muscle. Make sure to have a look at it and massage it, if necessary.
4.2 Active overloads
Constant strain of the digastricus can also lead to trigger points or tensions.
Here are two common examples:
- Teeth grinding
- Breathing through the mouth
4.2.1 Teeth grinding
When you grind your teeth, you not only press your teeth together, but also “rub” them against each other.
With this rubbing, you often move the jaw forwards and backwards, which activates the digastricus and can overload it in the long run.
4.2.2 Permanent mouth breathing
In order to breathe through your mouth, it’s necessary to open it. Here the digastricus is strained.
Breathing through your mouth for a very long time possibly overloads the muscle.
Thus, all situations that lead to a restriction of air supply via the nose are potential factors for a trigger point activation.
Air circulation can be restricted by many things. For example, by structural disturbances in the nose, or, and this is more often the case, by its congestion.
Colds or allergies can therefore become problematic and trigger pain in the throat, jaw and ear – pain that is or can be muscular in nature.
4.2 External forces: Whiplash
Any force that slams the head forwards or backwards or quickly bends or stretches the cervical spine can overload the digastricus.
Due to this rapid flexion or extension, part of the muscle is always stretched abruptly and too much. This can lead to the activation of trigger points.
4.3 Activation of satellite trigger points by trigger points in the SCM
Trigger points in the SCM (Sternocleidomastoid muscle: muscle of your neck) can cause pain in the area of the digastricus.
This can result in the activation of trigger points. In this case, we speak of satellite trigger points.
This means, if you have pain that is caused by the digastricus, you should also examine the SCM and eliminate any tensions that are present there.