Bill Reif, MSPT is a friend of MedGift who has over 30 years experience treating muscle tension induced headaches. He is the co-author of The Back Pain Secret: The Real Cause of Women’s Back Pain and How to Treat It which is available on Amazon (just click the link to read more or order).
Bill has written the following overview exclusively for readers the MedGift Voice. Thanks Bill and we look forward to more posts in the near future.
How to Self-treat Trigger Points -the #1 Cause of Muscle Tension Headaches
Up to 80% of all headaches are caused by muscle tension brought on by stress, poor posture or trauma.
We all deal with emotional and physical stress in different ways. Problems arise when we lose our ability to overcome that stress. This can happen during illness, when we undergo financial or family hardship, when we become a caregiver or lose a job, or lose a loved one.
The purpose of this blog post is to provide you with the knowledge and tools to reduce the stress and assist you in self treatment of the pain and headaches that tight muscles may cause.
Q. What is a trigger point? We all have these taut, hyperexcitable bands within our skeletal muscles. Bands, which when “turned on” or activated produce pain, headaches, numbness, tingling, and or weakness elsewhere in our body.
Stress in the neck may cause shoulder, elbow or hand symptoms, like headaches, pins and needles, tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome. Stress and activation of trigger points in the back or buttocks may trigger leg symptoms, like sciatica.
Q. What activates trigger points? Bad posture, repetitive motion, trauma, stress.
Q. Which muscles are usually involved?
Stress often activates trigger points in two primary muscles. The Sternocleidomastoid and the upper trapezius. (See illustration below)
The X’s show common trigger points in these two muscles. When activated by stress these points produce headaches in common patterns seen above in these illustrations.
Q. What de-activates trigger points? These 5 things will help the most in treating and preventing headaches.
1. Breathing and relaxation techniques
2. Meditation : learn to increase awareness of your body and you can learn to reduce the tension in those muscles which cause headaches.
3. Stretching: learn to stretch the neck and shoulder muscles which are short and possess trigger points which cause your headaches.
4. Massage: deep tissue massage can decrease the muscle tension in those tight muscles. Massage tools can help.
5. Posture: adjusting your seat position in car, home and work can realign your spine which in turn reduces the muscle tension causing headaches.
Bill Rief, MSPT