Trigger point pain

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
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Les Montanjees
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Trigger point pain

Post by Les Montanjees » Sat Oct 08, 2016 2:04 am

One of the members of our band has had to give up playing (and making - he's a fine luthier) guitar because of chronic trigger point pain. It's a knotted area of muscle near his right shoulder blade that feels like old rope used to tie up ships. Any repetitive movement of his right arm or fingers produces intense pain and crushing migraines. He's had every treatment he can find - acupuncture, massage, herbal patches, Bowen Therapy, yoga, stretching, even cortisone injections. They all work for a little while and then the pain roars back worse than ever. It's tragic to see him selling off his guitars one by one and putting the remaining ones out of sight.
Does anyone know of any recent research or treatment that might help him to be able to play even for 20 minutes a day on the instrument he's loved so much for so many years?

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Re: Trigger point pain

Post by cedartop » Fri Oct 28, 2016 3:14 am

I don't know. However, I had trigger finger issues from over-use as a guitarist and computer programmer. I avoided surgery for years, but a doctor I trusted highly recommended a particular surgeon. I had the surgery and have never looked back. I realize the problems are not the same, but since surgery was not listed in the things he has tried, he may wish to look into it. The right surgery can do wonders. I had to quit playing as well, until I had the surgery. Of course, surgery may not apply to this injury. Best wishes.
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Re: Trigger point pain

Post by guitarrista » Fri Oct 28, 2016 4:51 pm

I'd get an MRI scan and get properly diagnosed by a medical specialist.
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Re: Trigger point pain

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Fri Oct 28, 2016 7:58 pm

Here is an older article from 2002 related to Trigger Point issues. There is some higher level language used, but it's not too bad. It does not say anything about surgery, as far as I can tell.

Hope this helps. Good luck for you and your friend!
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Les Montanjees
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Re: Trigger point pain

Post by Les Montanjees » Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:20 am

Thanks everyone. I'll relay your suggestions and good wishes to Tony.


Re: Trigger point pain

Post by ScottPhillips » Sun Oct 30, 2016 3:09 pm

His sounds like an area where physical therapy might help. I had a similar issue with knotted muscles that caused migraines and therapeutic laser treatments really helped release the knotted muscles and I haven't been having the migraines. I have been able to play as much guitar as I want without the issues. It is sad to hear that your friend is selling off his guitars. I would hope that he would find a therapy that works. I wound up having surgery on my shoulder for a different issue ( it kept dislocating in my sleep ) and I had to put it back in every morning (. Like Mel Gibson in Lehal Weapon). Anyway there are a lot of reatments available and I hope hat he would keep exploring options

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Re: Trigger point pain

Post by VasquezBob » Sat Nov 26, 2016 2:33 am

All that I can do is to relay my situation. My left shoulder was in pain and I couldn't do much with it. Also, the middle finger in my left-hand was a "trigger finger". I don't know if the two are related. I had physical therapy for my shoulder a couple of years ago and I'm still doing the movements that were recommended. Yesterday morning following my daily exercise schedule, I did three pull-ups (overhand) and no pain. As for the trigger finger, I found a book with hand, finger and wrist exercises, "Fingernastics" by Quercia & Crescione (inexpensive on-line) which has lots of photos to explain the exercises. The trigger finger is fading away slowly and my hands, fingers are in good shape. My observation is that these kinds of physical ailments take time, years, to heal. For what it's worth, I'm still studying and practice my music.

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Re: Trigger point pain

Post by vinnyob22 » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:22 pm

I had a very similar situation years ago except mine was between my left shoulder blade and spine. After all my research I believe it was the rhomboid muscle. It was a very tight knotted area of muscle that I constantly knew was there. It would either be a dull pain in the background or if I used the muscles too much would spasm and feel like a knife being stuck in my back. It would spasm worse during deep breaths. It would take days for the sharp pain to subside. I lived like this for years and tried everything. NSAIDs, muscle relaxers, massage, hot, cold and massage. I even had a "cold laser" treatment from a reflexologist. None of this fixed the situation. I always felt I was on the verge of injury which was in fact the case. I eventually came across a forum where somebody had a similar situation and found a fix. I purchased a lacrosse ball off of Amazon for a few dollars. Lay on the floor and put the ball under your back in the area that is knotted the worst. Lay your arm that is on the same side as the injury across your body to open up the shoulder blade. Let all you weight down on the ball. Let gravity due the work. Don't roll the ball, keep it on the spot. It will hurt but will feel good at the same time. Hold it there for at least 15-20 seconds. Your muscles will resist and it takes that long for them to eventually give and let the ball sink in and begin to break up the scar tissue. Move the ball slightly to another area of the knot and repeat. Repeat this across the entire knotted area. You will be very sore after this. Repeat this every day. I noticed a huge improvement after only a few days of doing this. After a week or two the problem was gone. I couldn't believe it. Years of living with this chronic pain and it was finally gone. That was probably four or five years ago and I have not had any pain in that area since. Have your friend try this and let me know how it goes.

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