Understanding Cervical Trigger Points: How and Why They Develop

Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain condition affecting a large number of people – about 200,000 new cases are reported annually. While its causes and symptoms vary from person to person, there are a few identifying factors that chiropractors and other holistic healthcare practitioners can use to diagnose and treat myofascial pain syndrome.

Prior to diagnosing and treating pain, however, it’s important to understand the root cause: Namely, myofascial trigger points.

Understanding and identifying trigger points

Not to be confused with fibromyalgia tender points, myofascial trigger points are sensitive areas in a muscle that cause pain in other parts of the body when pressure is applied to them. Trigger points are areas where the muscle fiber is tightly wound and extremely sensitive.

These points generally form after some level of muscle trauma, such as overuse or injury. Stress and anxiety are also common catalysts.

Regardless of where in the body they form, trigger points are painful and challenging healthcare issues. Trigger points in the cervical spine, which joints the spinal column with the head, can be particularly difficult to deal with. They may reduce a patient’s range of motion, deter them from engaging in daily activities and more.

Treating trigger points

If you suspect a patient is suffering from a cervical trigger point, you should begin an aggressive treatment regimen as soon as possible. Thankfully, there are a number of ways chiropractic professionals can treat cervical myofascial trigger points, including the following:

  • Massage therapy: Skilled massage therapists are trained to relieve muscle tension, which is ultimately the cause of sensitive areas. Prescribing massage therapy to a patient suffering from myofascial pain in their cervical spine is usually the first line of treatment.
  • Dry needling: Stimulating the trigger point via dry needling is another effective treatment for people suffering from myofascial pain in their cervical spine. While the exact reason its effective is still unknown, it’s thought that moving the needle around the affected area stimulates blood flow.
  • Physical therapy: Stimulating the muscle to improve range of motion and reduce tension is another effective means of treatment for myofascial trigger points. Administering physical therapy to patients with a cervical trigger point is a great way to help them regain motion in their neck and shoulders.
  • Injections: Direct injections of anti-inflammatory medications into the site of the trigger point can alleviate tension and pain. Injections are, however, usually considered a last-resort, and should only be recommended to a patient if all other potential treatment methodologies have been ineffective.
  • Medication: Oral medications, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are an effective way to treat myofascial trigger points. Muscle relaxants are also effective at reducing tension in the muscle affected by myofascial pain. Some medications are habit-forming and cause behavioral changes, however, so prescribe with caution.

As with any condition, the right approach is entirely dictated by the patient. That’s why Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP) is so critical in myofascial trigger point identification and treatment. If you want to implement the latest techniques, tools and technologies at your chiropractic care center, visit one of our upcoming seminars near you.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

The Graston Technique is Ideal for Breaking Down Scar Tissue to Restore Range of Motion

When soft tissue undergoes trauma, it’s likely to form scar tissue. This scar tissue can cause all types of problems for patients, including chronic pain and reduced range of motion. Breaking down scar tissue is important for restoring blood flow to healing areas and for promoting a full range of motion during and after healing.

Introducing the Graston Technique

The Graston Technique is one of the most useful and prominent methodologies chiropractors can use to break down scar tissue and restore a patient’s range of motion.

When using the Graston technique, chiropractors rearrange the soft tissue in question to promote healing and improved flexibility. This technique uses a series of six tools that the chiropractor will implement during treatment. These tools, made of stainless steel, help the practitioner identify and break down areas of fibrotic tissue.

Benefits of the Graston Technique

If you’re looking for a new modality to use to help your patients regain their range of motion or improve their quality of life, consider implementing the Graston Technique at your practice. While research on its effectiveness is sparse, anecdotal evidence suggests several benefits, including:

  • Reduced need for medication: The Graston Technique is a natural way to address scarred soft tissue. After several sessions, this can reduce a patient’s need for anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as pain killers. It’s a lower-risk treatment for relief than prescription medications.
  • Improved range of motion: Once scar tissue is broken down, chiropractors can use the Graston Technique to stretch and pull soft tissue, realigning it over time. This improves a patient’s range of motion and helps them regain proper movement, muscle support, and form.
  • Reduced pain: Another key benefit of the Graston Technique is that it reduces pain in a natural and non-invasive manner. Many patients seek out chiropractors offering this treatment because of its reputation for alleviating pain formerly diagnosed as chronic.

Here’s how it works

During treatment, the practitioner will engage in a cross-friction massage, rubbing against the grain of the scar tissue. Then, they will slowly reintroduce trauma to the area. The goal of reintroducing slight amounts of trauma is to draw blood to the region; this will facilitate faster, more effective healing.

During and directly after receiving Graston Technique treatments, patients may experience slightly elevated levels of pain and inflammation. It’s important to realize this is part of the treatment and completely normal.

The Graston Technique’s place in CBP

The Graston Technique is often used by chiropractors relying on a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach. This is because it’s advisable to prescribe a series of sessions for patients when using this technique. Some patients report marked improvements in their pain and overall condition after more treatments.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your patient care and enhance your patient outcomes, find the next Chiropractic BioPhysics seminar near you. We’ll discuss how the Graston Technique and others can be best utilized as part of an ongoing return to spinal wellness.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Contrasting Congenital, Developmental and Acquired Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a condition that occurs when a spinal disc slips over the one directly below it. There are several types of spondylolisthesis, which can all cause pain, a reduced range of motion and other health concerns. Spondylolisthesis affects patients of all ages, and occasionally leads to other health complications.

There are three main types of spondylolisthesis, that each refer to the cause of the condition. They are as follows:

  • Congenital: This means that the slipped disc was present at birth. Congenital spondylolisthesis is usually identified early in a patient’s life, and can be managed with proper chiropractic care.
  • Developmental: This type of spondylolisthesis occurs during the child’s development. Unlike congenital spondylolisthesis, it’s usually not identified until later on in the patient’s life.
  • Acquired: This is the result of trauma suffered by the spine, caused by overexertion, injury and/or degeneration. Acquired spondylolisthesis usually occurs later in life.

Treating Spondylolisthesis

While the treatment of spondylolisthesis ultimately varies based on the patient, the severity of the condition and a range of other factors, there are some hard-and-fast treatments that chiropractors and other healthcare providers can use to treat spondylolisthesis patients, including the following:

  • Hot and cold therapy: Applying both heat and ice to areas of localized symptoms can help alleviate some of the pain and swelling associated with the condition. It’s advised to apply ice after engaging in an activity that causes a flare-up of symptoms, and heat while the patient is resting. Heat promotes blood flow and healing.
  • Manual manipulation: Manual manipulation at the hands of a skilled chiropractor is one of the most surefire ways to address spondylolisthesis. Chiropractors use their extensive knowledge of the spine and nervous system to both maneuver the spinal discs and alleviate pain, swelling and other symptoms associated with the condition.
  • Physical therapy: Encouraging patients to engage in physical therapy can help them regain their range of motion and promote healing after a period of time. Physical therapy is a non-invasive way to not only treat spondylolisthesis, but promote general health. It’s a slow, certain way to improve overall bodily function.
  • Steroid injections: In cases of extreme pain and swelling, steroid injections may be necessary for spondylolisthesis patients. These injections can immediately relieve swelling and pain, and allow the patient to pursue other treatment options. Steroid injections should always be seen as a last resort.
  • Surgery: In extreme cases, surgical treatment may be necessary. There are often complications associated with spinal surgery, so it’s only recommended after all natural, non-invasive treatment methods are exhausted. Spinal fusion is often the surgery prescribed for patients with extreme levels of spondylolisthesis-induced pain. The surgery is invasive and has a high recovery time.

Identifying and treating spondylolisthesis comes down to a thorough, investigative approach to working with patients. Chiropractic BioPhysics provides chiropractors with a range of techniques and tools they can use to qualify and treat this condition.

If you’re looking for ways to implement the latest and greatest technologies and processes at your holistic healthcare practice, visit the next Chiropractic BioPhysics seminar near you.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.