Trigger points can cause a whole host of symptoms such as headaches, neck and jaw pain, low back pain, numbness, tingling or weakness. However, the cause of these symptoms, the trigger point, is usually far removed from the symptom's location. Trigger points cause pain in a distant location, just as the trigger of a gun sends out a bullet to a distant location causing pain when it is pulled.

A trigger point will hurt when it is pressed, but is usually not felt unless it is touched directly. However, the referred pain caused by the trigger point can vary from being minor to severe or even incapacitating. The pain can be constant or only present on movement or at rest. A headache, for example, can be caused by a trigger point on the side of the neck.

Trigger points are very common. In fact the vast majority of people have them. A trigger point can be dormant or active. It is only when a trigger point becomes active that it causes pain and discomfort. A very common area for trigger points to develop is the Trapezius muscle, located in the upper back and neck, which can cause pain around the shoulder blade, the arm and elbow. Alternative, it can also cause pain behind the ears as well as headaches.

Trigger points can be treated either with targeted deep pressure on the point, also called myofacial release. Alternatively, a much more powerful and effective treatment is dry needling, which involves putting a very fine needle, such as an acupuncture needle, into the muscle to deactivate the trigger point. The release from dry needling is almost instant.

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