Back to the doctor’s today to see what else can be done for my headaches (that are not migraines we’ve discovered). The problem has been traced to trigger points in my neck and throat.
I had an incomplete understanding of trigger points before today: I knew about fibromyalgia tender points and thought they were one and the same, since trigger point and tender point are (incorrectly) used interchangeably sometimes.
Diagram of tender points for fibromyalgia diagnostic purposes
Tender points are the painful spots most widely used to diagnose fibromyalgia. In order to have a diagnosis, a patient must have 11 of 18 tender points positive for pain when pressed with enough pressure to turn your thumbnail white.
The important part of these tender points is that the pain is local; it isn’t referred to a distant point. These spots are chronically painful and difficult to get rid of.
An example of trigger points
Trigger points are acute (although may of them can be in place for years, and there are latent, secondary, and satellite trigger points ) areas of pain that cause referred pain to other areas and/or an involuntary muscle twitch when they’re pressed. The interesting thing is that they’re not considered a part of fibromyalgia, they’re from myofascial pain syndrome or chronic myofascial pain.
You can probably imagine how happy I was to get another new diagnosis, but chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and myofacial pain syndrome often occur together and each one can mimic the others, to come extent.
At any rate, my doctor isn’t as concerned about what I have. She wants to fix it.
She gave me some stretches to do and immediately I felt the pain and tension loosen and dissipate. It’s back now, but I know how to treat it. She also gave me a referral to a RMT who specializes in myofacial pain. I also have to get this book to do some treatments at home.
This explains a lot of things: my nagging headaches, the pain in my sinuses, my random sore throats: it’s all caused by a bunch of trigger points. If I can keep on top of the stretches and to the exercises in the book I’ve ordered, I should be on my way to living with a lot less pain.