Are your hips hurting? If so, our Sports Injury Therapists may have the answer – Trigger Points. To find out they’ll ask: “Are you experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Hip pain that can be constant and excruciating
- Pain that sometimes causes a limp while walking
- Hip pain while lying on your side at night
- Difficulty rising from a chair and/or the inability to stand up straight
- Are you struggling to find a stretch or change of position that relieves the pain
- And are you having trouble lying down comfortably and walking normally?”
Surprisingly, all these symptoms may be caused by Trigger Points (TrPs) in your Gluteal muscles.
What are Trigger Points and what do they do?
Most of us have them. They can occur in fascia or ligaments and we have talked about them before – here. Usually, they are areas of hyper-irritable muscle about the size of thumbnail. If prodded,they feel like taut, fibrous, bands in the muscle. And, if you do prod a TrP it’ll cause a ‘twitch response’ where you’ll jump at the level of pain. A TrP always causes localized pain but they can also cause other changes including increased or reduced skin temperature,sweating or dryness. Active TrPs are always tender and when pressed on, they can also create ‘an abnormal sensation’distant to where the muscle is pressed. This is a classic referred pain called a myofascialpain pattern.
TrPs prevent full lengthening of the muscle and so weaken it.
How do they occur?
TrPs can be caused by numerous events or sources of irritation. However, these all have something in common – they all make a muscle unhappy. So, the list of things that can activate a TrP looks like this:
- Any direct compression or stretching
- Acute overload caused by a fall or by walking too far or too fast, especially on rough terrain
- Overuse in running and other sports activities
- Any accumulation of toxic chemical by-products of muscle metabolism
- A lack of oxygen
- Sudden, acute or repetitive chronic overload
- Local joint dysfunction such as at a SI joint
- Nerve root irritation
- Injections into the muscle
And things that keep them going are:
- Any prolonged immobility such as whilst driving
- A longstanding postural distortion such as a tilting the pelvis by sitting on a wallet
The TrP in Gluteus minimus are a good example of this.
The Gluteus minimus (Glut min) is often overlooked. Glut min helps to keep the pelvis level when you are standing on one leg. Its myofascial pain pattern, or referred pain, is felt deep and remotely into the lateral calf. The muscle can also refer pain into the lateral ankle, and even to the foot. TrPs in the anterior fibres can refer into the lower buttock, down the lateral side of the thigh, and then further into the outside of the calf where the peroneal muscles are found.
- Avoid all the aggravating factors for a while
- Use your body weight to achieve deep ischemic compression right on top of the Glute min trigger points. These are located under the tender area at the top of the femur. This is done using a tennis ball to slowly apply a stripping massage. Leaning against a smooth wall while slowly rolling the tennis ball at a rate of about 1 inch every 10 seconds, moving towards either the iliac crest or the sacrum and following the natural layout of the Gluteus min muscle fibres will help.
And best of all, come and see one of our team as they really know their stuff!