By William Huhn
It was late 2001 / early 2002, when I started having chronic pain in my left shoulder. Before too long, along with the shoulder pain, I noticed chest pain and rhomboid pain, also on the left side of my body. The pain progressed quickly, now affecting my forearm and wrist. My thumb, index and middle fingers were typically numb – also on the left side.
Sleep was an nightly ordeal. Actually, the sleep wasn’t so bad, it was the waking-up to excruciating pain in the involved arm, several times every night – that was the ordeal.
My doctor’s diagnosis – an arthritic C-spine, and he could offer no help, except to prescribe Rx meds, (remember Vioxx?) and refer me to massage therapy. I have to say that after almost 7 months with no resolution or even mitigation of these symptoms, my life with constant pain was getting somewhat depressing.
It was a visit to Costco that changed everything – while there I happened upon Mr. Clair Davies’ book, The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook.
I had not heard anything about trigger points nor the symptoms they can cause, but when I opened the book there was something I instantly recognized, an illustration showing my exact pain pattern, and an explanation for how to treat and resolve the pain – I immediately bought the book.
Shortly after returning home, I began probing for trigger points in the scalene muscles whist following (‘cookbook style’), Mr. Davies instructions… and they were so very tender when compressed! Not just painful to compress, but there was also a sort of nervy-electric sensation as well. I probed around the scalenes for perhaps 30 seconds until I had had my fill of this self-inflicted irritation.
That evening (about 3 hours after the self-treatment) I noticed that my pain symptoms were gone. It was somewhat strange, and actually I initially thought it may be my imagination. I recall staring at my arm while saying to my wife, “hey my arm pain is gone”! Must say that I couldn’t quite believe that such a short treatment could offer such relief. But the pain really was gone!
That night was the first time in months that I slept right through to the morning, pain-free.
I recall thinking that morning that if Trigger Point Therapy could help me, then perhaps it could help others who are suffering with chronic pain.
My Trigger Point learning journey began that morning.
About the scalene muscles –
The scalenes attach to the C-spine and the 1st and 2nd ribs.
The trigger points cause the muscles to shorten.
This muscle shortening not only compresses the C-spine, but also pulls the 1st rib up toward the clavicle causing nerve and vein compression. (the nerves and veins that pass between the clavicle and 1st rib)
After treatment, the muscle relaxes, allowing the 1st rib to return to it’s natural position, and thereby remedying the symptoms.
Keep in mind – bone goes where muscle pulls it.