Muscle Spasms, hypertonicity, trigger points and Fibromyalgia
Our bodies consist of approximately 650 muscles that are connected to our bones. When muscles contract, they cause movement of the bones and joints. Skeletal muscles, called striated muscles, react to the way they are used. For example, when we lift weights or perform any activity repetitively, the muscles tend to strengthen or stretch and adapt to that specific use. When realizing this fact, one can understand why athletes of different sports can have vastly different body types. Weight lifters, runners, football players and dancers are all athletes with obvious differences in the development of their muscles as well as a unique set of activity related injuries.
Fascia (Connective tissue)
Wrapped around the outside and lining the inside of muscles is a strong sheet of connective tissue called muscle fascia. Fascia carries the nerves, blood vessels and lymphatics that supply the muscles. If the fascia is damaged, the blood, nerve and lymph supply to the muscles can be interrupted and chronic muscle problems can result. An example of injury to fascia is Plantar Fasciitis, a painful condition affecting the arch of the foot and heel.
Muscles and nerves
All muscles, and essentially every organ and cell in our body is innervated by nerves. When a nerve is stimulated the muscle to which it is connected contracts. Therefore, any condition decreasing nerve impulses can cause pathology of the muscle or organ innervated by that nerve. Muscle tightness and injury can put abnormal pressure on nerves, thus causing a ‘pinched nerve’. An example of a pinched nerve from muscle hypertonicity is Sciatica when it is caused from the Piriformis muscle (Piriformis Syndrome).
Chronic Muscle Spasm, Fibrositis, Fibromyalgia
Feeling "tight"; always needing to stretch; feeling constant aches and pains in the back of the neck, lower back, and hips; feeling old and stiff; being plagued by morning fatigue, sleeping problems or tender points (sensitive areas on the body surface) are the symptoms of chronic muscle spasm. This condition is also called fibrositis or if severe enough may be considered Fibromyalgia.
Trigger points are small tender areas in a muscle that, when pressed, heated or cooled can be exquisitely painful. They may exist before as well as after the appearance of muscular aches and pains. In fact, patients may first discover their trigger points when they are surprised by someone pressing a seemingly pain-free area. Trigger points are not only tender to touch but also refer pain and various sensations to other areas of the body. This referred pain is a common cause of muscular headaches. Massage therapy, physiotherapy modalities and acupuncture are effective methods for the treatment of trigger points.
Subluxations and Muscle Spasms
A common disruption of the nerve-muscle relationship occurs as a result of the vertebral misalignment stresses, called subluxations. The spinal bones (the vertebrae) become misaligned and irritate or impinge the spine's nerve-muscle-bone relationship. The lack of normal motion or misalignments of the vertebrae can result in muscle spasms.
The doctor of chiropractic corrects the mechanical factors that play a major part in chronic muscle spasm or fibrositis. Correct spinal alignment through the use of gentle spinal manipulation (adjustments) is necessary for proper muscle function.