What Can Make Tender Point Pain Worse?
There are some things which can trigger or make your fibromyalgia symptoms worse.
They may include:
- Changes in weather - for example, cold or humidity
- Hormonal changes, such as PMS
- Lack of sleep or restless sleep
- Emotional stress
- Physical exhaustion
- Not moving around enough
Tender Points vs. Trigger Points
While tender points are small pressure points throughout the body, the widespread pain is the result of what is called “trigger points.”
Trigger points are firm nodules that you can often feel in your tight, rope-like muscles. Pressing on a trigger point hurts in the area and also shoots pain to other regions.
It has been proven that about 90% of the eighteen tender points we mentioned earlier are also myofascial trigger points. This knowledge is a good thing because determining which ones are trigger points will help better determine how to treat the pain.
Treatments and Remedies
There are specific fibromyalgia treatments for relieving the painful knots in the muscles where the trigger points are located, and research shows that relieving the pain of just one trigger point can have a significant effect on reducing your body-wide pain.
One of the more popular approaches is therapeutic massage, which involves working out the trigger points to try to get the muscles to relax. Therapeutic massage can manipulate the muscles and soft tissues of the body to help ease the pain, muscle tension, spasms, and stress.
I experienced the benefits of therapeutic massage during a time when I was in physical therapy. The therapist would do deep heat massage where they could feel these “knots” in my muscles.
It was a challenge each week to try and “work out” these knots and a bit painful. The therapist also provided electrical pulse stimulus massage as well.
Each of these, as well as low-impact exercises with stretch bands, a stationary bike and light weights proved beneficial in working out the pain of these trigger points and knotted muscles.
In addition to therapeutic massage, there are many ways to manage the pain of tender and trigger points from fibromyalgia. Some treatments are conventional while others are alternative therapies.
The treatment for fibromyalgia and tender points involves a mix of medications, daily stress management, exercise, rest, and water activities called hydrotherapy. If you have not tried hydrotherapy, I recommend you ask your doctor about this alternative therapy.
Alternative therapy is much easier on the muscles and joints and has a relaxing effect. Your doctor can provide a referral to a physical therapy center that has a heated pool for hydrotherapy.
Home Remedies for Tender Point Pain
How you handle fibromyalgia pain at home is another important part of your overall treatment.
For example, try putting moist heat on your muscles twice a day to ease deep muscle pain and stiffness. You can use a moist heating pad or heat "cozy" that you warm in the microwave.
Anything that eases muscle tension, such as a hot shower or soaking in a hot tub, will reduce the impact of the trigger points. Unlike tender points, trigger points cause a restricted range of motion (muscle tightness), and they radiate pain to other areas of the body.
It’s also important to manage your schedule and control your stress levels. Be sure to block out time each day to rest and relax.
Avoid making too many commitments that can wear you out. You can also try relaxation exercises such as guided imagery, deep-breathing exercises, or the relaxation response to manage how you deal with stress.
Also, try to go to bed at the same time every night. It allows your body to rest and repair itself. Get regular exercise. It will help you manage the pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Don’t be afraid of touch! While these tender and trigger points can sometimes seem like conduits of pain, they can also be channels of healing with a soft touch.
Aside from the professional massages and therapies, let loved ones lightly rub your neck or back, softly rub your feet, stroke your head or just tenderly hold you close. I have found that these moments with people I care about melt away stress and reduce pain like nothing else.
Companions and even your children or a friend can share in your care. Let the little ones rub your feet. Ask your partner for a neck rub or a head massage. A little tender loving care goes a long way!