Modern life has many people working in ways that are not entirely natural to the human body, such as spending much of the day sitting hunched over a computer screen on straining their neck to focus on smart phone screens. These can lead to tension in trigger points which not only cause immediate pain and discomfort but can also lead to referred pain such as headaches, pain in the shoulders or finger pain.
Here are some of the causes of neck and shoulder trigger pain as well as tips on how to deal with it.
What causes trigger point tension?
Some people are naturally vulnerable to tightness in the shoulder or neck muscles due to having relatively short muscles in this area. Jobs or hobbies that encourage working in one position such as positions that involve staring at a single computer screen (either for work or gaming) can also exacerbate neck pain. Sports that encourage rapid asymmetrical movements can also lead to tension in the neck (including tennis if players overly favour forehand or backhand shots).
Some people find that sleeping in a unusual position can create tension in the neck. Overweight people, especially those with large breasts or substantial belly fat, can also have a have strain on their spine and neck due to the extra weight. An injury can also lead to sustained tension in one or more muscles.
How do I know if I have trigger point tension?
The main way that you can determine if you have tension in a trigger point is that the pain or other symptoms leave after either massage or acupressure in the those points. It's important to use an experienced massage therapist, as stimulation to the neck and shoulder can usually cause a twitch reaction, but a true trigger reaction can be felt by an experienced therapist.
How can I solve my trigger point tension?
If you have trigger point tension, it can be a good idea to get regular massage therapy to release the tension in those points. Additionally, you can ask your therapists for some self massage techniques so that you can give yourself some relief between sessions if you need. You can also explain your normal routine to the therapist and get some feedback on simple ways to modify your work or sleeping positions to provide some ongoing relief.
Getting some professional support can help you to manage neck and shoulder pain through non-medical options such as massage therapy.