Chronic mechanical stresses are one of the most common causes of trigger point activation and perpetuation, and are nearly always correctable.
A skeletal asymmetry, including a shorter leg and a small hemipelvis (the part of the pelvis you sit on) can be corrected with shoe lifts and butt lifts. In this book-on-CD, reference to a shorter leg refers to a true leg length inequality where the bones are shorter on one side, rather than the "shorter leg" caused by a spinal mis-alignment, which is a term chiropractors use. A skeletal disproportion, such as a long second toe can be corrected with shoe orthotics, and short upper arms can be corrected with ergonomically correct furniture. Vertebral subluxation and other bones-out-alignment can be adjusted by a chiropractor or osteopathic physician, especially if the muscles are also first relaxed by an acupuncturist or massage therapist.
Mis-fitting furniture is a major cause of muscular pain, particularly in the work place. There are companies that specialize in coming into your work place and correcting your office arrangement, and fitting you for furniture that fits your body. Your employer may balk at the cost, but if they don't change your mis-fitting furniture, they will end up paying for it in lost work time and worker's compensation claims.
I see a lot of what I call "mouse injuries" -- arm and shoulder pain due to using a computer mouse for extended periods of time without proper arm support. The keyboard should be kept as close to lap level as possible. When not using your computer, your elbows and forearms should rest evenly on either your work surface or armrests of the proper height. Your computer screen should be directly in front of you, and the copy attached to the side of the screen, so that you may look directly forward as much as possible. Your knees should fit under your desk, and the chair needs to be close enough that you can lean against your backrest. A good chair will have a backrest with a slope of 25 to 30-degrees back from the vertical which supports both the lumbar area and the mid-back. The seat should be low enough that your feet rest flat on the floor without compression of the thigh by the front edge of the seat, high enough that not all the pressure is put on the buttocks, and slightly hollowed out to accommodate the buttocks. The armrests must be high enough to provide support for the elbows without having to lean to the side, but not so high as to cause the shoulders to hike up. The upholstery needs to be firm and casters should be avoided. I highly recommend headsets for phones to solve neck and back pain.
A lumbar support helps correct round-shouldered posture. It seems, oddly enough, that most car seats actually curve the wrong way in the lumbar area. Most chiropractic offices carry lumbar supports of varying thickness. I recommend getting one for the car and your favorite seat at home, and investing in a good chair for the office, even if your employer won't. Try to avoid sitting in or on anything without back support, which causes you to sit with your shoulders and upper back slumped forward. When going to sporting events, picnics, or other places you won't have a back support, bring a Crazy Creek Chair™ (or something similar) to provide at least some support. You can get one through most of the major sporting goods suppliers, and they cost about $33, a good investment in your back, and they are very lightweight for carrying. Or consider a lightweight collapsible chair, also available at sporting goods stores. Sleeping in a sagging bed can cause back and hip problems. (See the section on Sleep Problems). But properly fitting furniture won't help as much if you are not also conscientious of avoiding poor posture.
If you slouch at your desk or on your couch at home, or read in bed, for example, your muscles will suffer. Abuse of muscles includes poor body mechanics (i.e., lifting improperly), long periods of immobility (i.e., sitting at a desk without a break), repetitive movements (i.e., computer use), holding your body in an awkward position for long periods (i.e., dentists and mechanics), and excessively quick and jerky movements (i.e., sports). Learn to lift properly and take frequent breaks from anything you must do for long time periods .
Be sure to sit while putting clothing on your lower body. Don't wear high heels or cowboy boots. If you have a habit of immobilizing your muscles to protect against pain, you will need to start gently increasing your range of motion as you inactivate trigger points. Don't keep stressing the muscles to see if it still hurts or to demonstrate to your treating professionals where you have to move it to in order to get it to hurt -- if you keep repeating this motion, you will just keep the trigger points activated. If you carry a purse, get a strap long enough that you can wear it diagonally across your body, rather than over one shoulder. If you use a day pack, put the straps over both shoulders. Without realizing it, you are hiking up one shoulder at least a little to keep the straps from slipping off no matter how light your purse or pack may be. Notice whether you hold your shoulders up or are tightening muscles such as your butt, arms, or abdomen when you are under stress. You will need to re-train yourself to break this habit.
If you are clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth, see a Dentist for help. The soft plastic bite splints found over-the-counter in pharmacies are too soft and do not help temporomandibular joint dysfunction. You need to be fitted by your dentist for a hard, slippery acrylic night guard.
Constricting clothing can lead to muscular problems. My rule of thumb is, if the clothing item leaves an elastic mark or indentation in the skin, it is too tight and is cutting off proper circulation. Check your bras, socks, ties, and belts to see if they are too tight.
Valerie DeLaune, LAc. is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Diplomate in Acupuncture, Master of Acupuncture, Certified Neuromuscular Massage Therapist and Certified Massage Therapist in Ancorage, Alaska. Valerie says, "My intention is to aid patients in their self-healing. I assist patients by teaching them self-help techniques that will empower them to make positive changes in their lives and their health." Visit her website at http://triggerpointrelief.com/.
Note: Only one of article section has been included in this excerpt. The full text can be obtained by visiting (www.triggerpointrelief.com)