The shoulder joint relies more on muscle than bone and ligament support to hold it together. It is what gives the arm its range of motion. With that being said, the muscles have to work properly. The effect of tight and knotted muscles, also known as trigger points, in the shoulders can be very painful and function-limiting.
Trigger points cause pain and stiffness in different regions of the shoulder, and these symptoms can travel to other parts of the body, such as the spine. Tension can cause the muscles to weaken and become more susceptible to injury. If you are bothered by shoulder pain, you may benefit from trigger point therapy.
What is Trigger Point Therapy?
Trigger point therapy aims to loosen the knots in the shoulder muscles through exercise, massage, the use of modalities such as dry needling, and movement adjustments. Trust only a licensed physical therapist to do this, as incorrectly pressing on what you perceive to be the location of knotted muscles may do you more harm.
Stretching Exercises – It is important to stretch the muscles in order to loosen them up. The muscles most often affected by tightness are the infraspinatus (triangular muscle on the surface of the scapula), supraspinatus (a small muscle of the upper back), subscapularis (at the anterior of the scapula), teres minor (a posterior muscle that extends between the scapula and humerus), and the anterior deltoid (triangular muscle occupying the upper arm and shoulder). A PT can guide you through exercises that specifically target these muscles.
Massage Therapy – Physical therapists have in-depth knowledge of muscles and how they impact a joint, as well as the nature of trigger points and how they cause pain in other areas of the body. Your PT can follow the pain back to its original source and apply pressure to the area to loosen up the muscle knot to return it to its original condition.
Dry Needling – Physical therapists also use fine needles to treat trigger points. They can insert them into the trigger points in order to stimulate the muscle to twitch, release the tension, and cause it to relax. Many patients feel immediate relief from shoulder pain after a dry needling session, but lasting relief usually requires several sessions.
Movement Adjustments – Trigger points usually develop as a result of repetitive activity, since the body was not designed for repetitive tasks. Hence, it’s a common problem that arises from office work or manual labor. Physical therapists are movement experts and can help prevent injuries by correcting poor posture and abnormal movements. They can also help you reach peak physical condition through nutrition counseling and exercise to prevent trigger points from developing.
Trigger Point Therapy in Austin, TX
At Endeavor Physical Therapy, our licensed physical therapists regularly treat patients with body pain caused by trigger points. With our blend of expertise and compassionate approach, we can help relieve your shoulder pain and restore its normal function. To find out how we can help you, make an appointment with us. Call (512) 284-7192 or use our online appointment request form.
Endeavor Physical therapy has locations in Austin, Round Rock, Manor, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Bee Cave, Lakeway, and Hutto. We look forward to serving you soon!