Trigger points, I have several of them due to the fibromyalgia but my favorite, and I use the word loosely, is one that strikes under my right shoulder-blade. This little beast can make me miserable for days on end. It gives me referred pain in the neck, shoulder, in back of the shoulder-blade and down my right arm. I also have one on my right forearm that generally meets the other one somewhere in my upper arm and goes into my fingers. I have a couple of others but these are the worst ones.
How do I manage these trigger points? Sometimes it takes a lot of effort but these are the things I’ve tried that work for me.
If I can coax my hubby into it, I have him massage the one under my shoulder-blade. If he uses circular motion it doesn’t work as well but if he uses a downward stretching motion I can get relief fairly quickly. If he doesn’t do it for me I use a Shiatsu massage that he bought for me. The Shiatsu massage works with a circular motion but if I move it along the area that’s sore then I can get some relief. I have also learned that putting a medium-sized rubber ball or a tennis ball in a sock, lean the tender area against it and run it up and down over the trigger point it helps. It takes a little time to get the movement right but it really does work. The trigger point on my right forearm can be helped when I massage it myself.
I apply moist heat to the trigger point by using a heating pad with a damp wash cloth or small towel. I do this alone or after I’ve had a massage. This helps to relax the muscle that has just been worked on.
I do gentle stretches to lengthen the muscles that have knotted up. I will often stretch these muscles four to five times a day just to keep somewhat limbered up. Staying in one position too long aggravates a trigger point so stretching and moving those muscles in different directions during the course of the day will help a lot.
The muscles that knot up don’t like to be cold. Being in a cold room or out in cold weather is not good for trigger points. Adjust the heat inside if you can or wear extra clothing inside or outside to protect those muscles. I live in Florida and I’ve discovered that being cold when it’s humid is even worse, at least in my case.
My diet does affect my trigger points. If I get too much caffeine or sugar especially I suffer more with them. It’s too bad that sugar is one of the things I really crave with the fibromyalgia. I haven’t come to a definite conclusion but I think artificial sweeteners aggravate them and I know that being dehydrated does. As a result I stay away from regular coffee and tea and avoid the sweeteners as much as possible. My drink of choice is plain old water and I drink a lot of it during the course of the day.