Rectus abdominis trigger points are interesting because they not only cause pain in your abdomen (where the muscle is located) but can refer pain into your back. This means they’re often missed as a possible cause of back pain.
The rectus abdominis muscle (otherwise known as your sixpack or abs) is one of the important core muscle groups. It’s used constantly for you to stay upright, walk, move and do daily tasks. It’s vital for stability and strength.
If you have abdominal pain, it’s important to first rule out other causes, like organ dysfunction, before looking for triggers. However, pain caused by organs can activate trigger points, so if pain is persisting after the original cause has been treated, it’s well worth examining for triggers.
The trigger points for this muscle are located where you feel your ‘six pack.’ They’re easy to reach, being right on the surface, and relatively easily to treat yourself.
Trigger points can be turned on by:
As we mentioned before, rectus abdominis is interesting because two of the trigger points refer pain all the way into the back.
If you have pain in your back, and can’t find any trigger points where you feel the pain, that’s when you need to look (counter-intuitively) for trigger points in your abdomen.
The next two trigger points refer pain locally, and can relieve abdominal pain when there’s no other obvious cause.
When you look for these trigger points, use your fingers to locate the tender points.
These trigger points can be treated using the ischemic pressure principle. They’re not difficult to reach yourself, and can be very successfully treated.
You’ll know the trigger points have been turned off when you can press in on where the trigger was, and feel no tenderness. You’ll also feel an ease of movement when you’re using the muscle.
After treating your triggers, it’s important to stretch. This is to reset the muscle length, and create a longer lasting treatment.
Stretching this muscle can be done in two ways: by doing a position known as the ‘cobra’ in yoga:
For the cobra, you can do a less extreme stretch by only raising yourself up on your elbows, rather than onto your hands.
The second way to stretch the rectus abdominis is to sit on the edge of a bed and slowly lean back onto your elbows. This stretches the abdominal wall.
It’s important to practice slow diaphragmatic breathing while you do this. It helps your muscles to relax into the stretch, and will also lend stability to your core, as this activates your diaphragm.
If you’re interested in finding out more on trigger points, and how to create strong, flexible, pain-free muscles, here’s where to download your free trigger point pain relief guide >>