In this video I show you how to treat your Sternocleidomasdoid Muscle or SCM (for short).
If your SCM’s are filled with Trigger Points, they are likely to cause Headaches and Migraines. It can also lead to eye, face and jaw pain.
Treating your SCM’s can lead to decreased pain and discomfort.
In this video I show you how to use Trigger Point Therapy to treat Upper Back and Shoulder pain.
Trigger points in the Scalene muscles (found in your neck) can lead to pain in the chest, upper back, arms and wrist as well as causing restriction in movement in the head and neck area. Therefore treating the Scalenes using Trigger Point Therapy can lead to decreased pain and discomfort and increased range of motion.
My own experience of Trigger Point Therapy led to a fascination in this simple but such effective treatment for pain. I first went to a therapist who specialised in Trigger Point Therapy for my right upper side which had started off as shoulder pain but had gradually extended up to my neck and down my arm and into my hand. It was painful to use the computer mouse and it was affecting my work, training and emotional state.
I had used massage therapists in the past but not one who was so precise and specific in her treatment. I remember being amazed by the way she treated and its effectiveness, treating specific muscles on and around the site of pain. It was uncomfortable, but there was a pleasure and relief in being treated. I went to her for several weekly sessions and remember being practically pain free by the end of it.
What are Trigger Points?
A Trigger point is commonly known as a ‘muscle knot’. They are small areas of tightly contracted muscle and can cause pain and reduced mobility within the body. They are found in anywhere from 21% to 93% of individuals with pain complaints.
– If you press on a trigger point it can feel painful or sore.
– Pressing on a trigger point can often refer pain into another area of the body.
Trigger Point Therapy aims to release these ‘knots’ and bring the body back to its natural healthy state.
It’s ‘knot’ where you think!
The site of your pain (where it hurts) is not necessarily the source of your pain. Knowledge of Trigger Point Therapy can help establish the actual site of your pain. Lower back pain for example can be caused by Trigger Points in your Iliopsoas muscles (hip flexors). Pain in your upper arm and shoulder can be caused by Trigger Points in your Infraspinatus muscle (a muscle located over the back of your shoulder blade).
The pain pattern of Trigger Points can often be mistaken for other common complaints. For example, trigger points in the Scalene muscles (located in your neck) can reproduce symptoms in your arm and hand. This pain pattern is commonly misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome, which can lead to invasive surgery. Symptoms can easily be treated with trigger point therapy.
The SCM muscles (Sternocleidomastoid), again found in the neck, can refer pain into the face, head and jaw if filled with Trigger Points, causing horrendous symptoms such as headaches/ migraines, dizziness, jaw pain and face pain.
Trigger points in the Piriformis muscle, located in the buttock, can refer pain into the sacroiliac region, the buttock and the hip joint, sometimes causing pain down the leg, commonly confused with sciatica.
How do we get Trigger Points?
– Direct or chronic overload of a particular muscle
-Overwork fatigue caused by excessive or repetitive actions
-Trauma to the muscle
-Compression or chilling of the muscle
-Leaving the muscle in a shortened position for extended periods of time such as sleeping or sitting for extended periods or holding the phone between the ear of shoulder.
– Visceral disease, viral disease and emotional stress.
Treatment for Trigger Points
– Treatment for trigger points can include heat application, static compression, fascial techniques (Myofascial Release) and the insertion of needles into the Trigger Point itself (Medical acupuncture).
– It is important to locate and treat all surrounding muscles located in the pain pattern.
Based on the theory of Trigger Point Therapy for treating pain, it suggests that if we only treat the area of pain, results are unlikely to achieve lasting results. It is likely that if the cause is Trigger Points and you only treat the area of pain, you will be in the wrong place 75% of the time (Chaitow and DeLany 2000,p.69).
The good news is that you can learn to do Trigger Point Therapy on yourself (of course, working with an expert therapist is going to get you results quicker and more effectively). A great book to learn about Trigger Points and how to treat them yourself is ‘The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook’, by Clair Davies.
So, if you have been trying to treat your pain condition and have only been looking at the site of pain, it may be time to broaden your approach.
‘The diagnoses only tells you where inflammation is showing up. It doesn’t tell you why it started.’ (stopchasingpain.com)
It’s your choice
How you choose to deal with your pain is up to you. Bodywork can be an excellent ‘drug free’ way of treating your pain. Combining it with other investigative techniques such as talking therapy or emotional freedom technique can be even more effective. Nutrition, exercise and lifestyle adjustments can also bring about positive changes in relation to your pain.
‘Pain can be a good thing as it is the body’s way of warning us that there is a problem that needs to be corrected.’
Pain is generally divided into two categories, Acute and Chronic.
Acute pain generally occurs due to an accident, or incident such as surgery, and this can cause potential pain, swelling, inflammation, and decreased range of motion. The general advise for this during the initial stages is to rest, ice, compress and elevate the affected area. Pain that has occurred through no apparent incident or accident can be treated straight away.
Chronic Pain is pain that persists long beyond the usual healing time of an injury. Pain signals can remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years. Some people suffer chronic pain even when there is no past injury or apparent body damage. The treatment of Chronic Pain can take one session or several sessions and this all depends on several factors including lifestyle, psychological and emotional distress, thought processes, postural imbalances, repetition and how long the pain condition has taken to evolve. Having said that, just because you have had something for 60 years, it doesn’t mean it will take longer to recover. When the body is ready to heal, it will heal!
The Effects of Chronic Pain
People who have chronic pain can have physical effects that are stressful on the body. These include tense muscles, limited ability to move around, a lack of energy, and appetite changes. Emotional effects of chronic pain include depression, anger, anxiety, and fear of re-injury. Such a fear might limit a person’s ability to return to their regular work or leisure activities.
The Body-Mind Connection
The Body-Mind connection acknowledges that pain and injury can occur due to our thought process, emotional blocks and limiting beliefs and can play havoc in our body…and certainly if we have emotional pain that is not dealt with it can accumulate as pain and restriction in the body. Our bodies are literally trying to tell us something! Treating the body and the person is the most effective form of pain relief.
“A wise physician said to me, ‘I have been practising medicine for 30 years and I have prescribed many things. But in the long run I have learned that for most of what ails the human creature, the best medicine is love.”
“What if it doesn’t work?” I asked.
“Double the dose,” he replied.
Bodywork can help with a range of conditions. If yours is not listed here, please speak to me to find out if I can help you.
- Neck and Shoulder Pain
- Frozen Shoulder
- Rotator Cuff Injury
- Wrist and Forearm Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Tennis/ Golfers Elbow
- Back Pain
- Spondylosis/ Spondylolisthesis
- Facet Joint Irritation Syndrome
- Herniated Disc
- Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Pain
- Piriformis Syndrome
- Hip and Pelvis Pain
- TMJ, Face and Jaw Pain
- Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
- Myofascial Pain
- Chronic Fatigue
- Stress and Muscular Tension
- The Physical Impact of Emotional Trauma
What do I wear?
Whatever you are comfortable in. Some people prefer to bring shorts with them for the initial assessment but this is not mandatory. During the treatment it is usual to be treated in your underwear, but you will be covered with a towel at all times.
How quickly should I expect to feel better?
It depends! Everyone is treated as unique. Some people can expect to feel a change straight away, others do take longer. Changes and improvement in well-being are dependent on a number of factors including lifestyle, stress, emotional and physical factors.
How often do I need to see Kay?
It depends! There is no right or wrong. People need support in different ways so whilst one person may feel the benefit of one treatment alone and encouraged to continue with their home-care, another person may feel the benefit of a regular treatment and support. This can be weekly, fortnightly, monthly, 6 weekly – whatever suits your needs, lifestyle and budget. Together a tailor made treatment plan will be forged.