There are many types of arthritis or joint inflammatory diseases. Symptoms vary but an often overlooked aspect of pain that is experienced can come from the musculature. A great effort has been made in pharmacological, surgical strategies and movement exposure to deal with arthritic symptoms and every avenue should be explored to find the appropriate solution that best fits the person. In that vein, contractures often form in muscles surrounding an arthritic joint and serve a number of functions as well as contributing to a number of symptoms. These contractures when sensitised and reproduciing symptoms are called active Myofascial Trigger points.
These have been documented to replicate joint pain, muscle pain, changes in sensation, cause restriction to movement and stiffness and contribute to fatigue. Their treatment can involve manual therapy and exercise and Neuromuscular therapists (NMT) specialise in this approach. NMTs use palpation to locate, identify and assess trigger points for treatment. Pressure used during the treatment matches the patient’s individual pain threshold and a thorough treatment of the trigger point and it’s environment can involve flexibility and body awareness exercises.
Most importantly patients are encouraged to move more often and reducing tension and restriction to movement can greatly facilitate this.