About Trigger Point Therapy

What is it?

Trigger point therapy is a bodywork technique first developed by Dr. Janet Travell in the USA in the 1940’s. Trigger Point therapy involves applying pressure to tender muscle tissue in order to relieve pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body.

Trigger point therapy is also called myofascial trigger point therapy. Muscle knots are an example of this phenomenon.

What are Trigger Points?

Trigger points refer to the areas of tenderness in a muscle. There are two basic types of trigger points: active and latent. Active trigger points cause muscular pain. Active points will often refer pain and tenderness to another area of the body when pressure is applied. Latent trigger point’s only exhibit pain when compressed, they do not refer pain to other areas of the body. Latent trigger points are likely to be one of the causes of stiff joints and restricted range of motion.

Trigger points are different from acupressure points. Acupressure points are concentrations of energy or blockages of the body’s energy pathways. Trigger points are physical phenomena that can be felt by touching.

What Causes Trigger Points?

Trigger points have several causes. Some common causes are: birth trauma, an injury sustained in a fall or accident, poor posture, or overexertion.

What is the Purpose of Trigger Point Therapy?

The purpose of trigger point therapy is to eliminate pain and to re-educate the muscles to perform pain-free habits. After several treatments, the swelling and stiffness of neuromuscular pain is reduced. Range of motion is increased, tension is relieved, and circulation, flexibility and coordination are improved.

Interestingly, the pain caused by trigger points is an especially significant cause of disability and loss of time in the workplace. Trigger point therapy and other massage technique are often performed together within a treatment.  Trigger point therapy can help you improve your natural ability to maintain an active lifestyle.

As people experience different muscle pains, there are also massages or muscle therapies for each one of them. Different muscle groups, different kinds of pain, different needs and effects. Each of these factors affects what kind of muscle therapy you should be getting. 

Different kinds of therapy, such as trigger point therapy, each has theirits own method of tackling and easing pain in one’s body.

Trigger point therapy involves putting pressure on trigger points by manipulating the muscles around them. It can also release muscle knots which can affect the nerves surrounding it, and cause pain in other parts of your body.  

It relieves pain in the area of the trigger point and any issues in other parts of your body. Trigger points are the areas of tender muscles in your body. Moreover, there are two kinds of trigger points. 

One is the active trigger point which causescause muscular pain. Latent trigger points meanwhile only cause pain when compressed and are onis on that same part of your body. They are the usual cause of stiff joints.

What causes trigger points

Most trigger points are caused by making your muscles work overtime. It can be caused by muscle overuse, trauma or injury, or even psychological stress. They can come from sustained, repetitive activities. 

While there is no single factor that can cause trigger points, there are several contributing factors that can cause this.

  • poor posture
  • sitting for a long time in awkward positions
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • serious lack of exercise or movement
  • any injury to the musculoskeletal system or intervertebral disks
  • generalized fatigue
  • lack of sleep
  • hormonal changes (menopause)
  • intense cooling of muscles (such as when sleeping in front of an air conditioner)
  • emotional problems (depression, anxiety)
  • other pain or inflammation conditions
  • obesity
  • smoking

What is the purpose of trigger point therapy?

Trigger point therapy is a procedure that aims to remove any pain from your body and re-educate muscles to perform pain-free habits. A series of treatments can reduce swelling and the stiffness of neuromuscular pain. 

It removes any tension and improves several factors such as blood circulation, flexibility and coordination. There are also a few more benefits of having a regular trigger point therapy session. Take a look at some of its benefits to you.

Decreases headaches

Headaches can come from having tight muscles in your upper back and neck muscles. 

There are many trigger points on that part of the body that’s why headaches can be frequent which can not only add stress but also stop you from doing your tasks. It can cause you to lose focus.

While most doctors prescribe medicine to ease your headache, a trigger point therapy might just be the one you need. When patients come to Dynamic Massages with chronic headaches, we do an evaluation to identify the cause. Once we identify that the cause is due to overusing muscles, we advise them to have a trigger therapy session.

We’ll treat the muscles that affect headaches. Not only will it result in fewer instances of headaches, but it will also make them less frequent which is an effective long term result than taking medicines. 

Improves flexibility

Your body’s flexibility deteriorates over time. This means that you won’t be able to do the things you’re able to do when you were young. 

Take note though that what’s stopping you from moving a part of your body in a way that exceeds its natural movements is the pain you feel in your muscles. When you reach that point, you stop trying to move your body hence, limiting your flexibility.

A trigger point therapy session can be used to release muscle tensions in your body. This in turn improves your flexibility and increases the range in which your body can move in. This is especially important to athletes as it also improves their overall performance aside from releasing muscle tension.

Other athletes also noted how the therapy can improve their warm-up exercises. It not only helps to prevent any injury, but trigger point therapy also relaxes the muscles, which helps you prepare for stretching. This in turn improves your performance since you were able to warm your body up better than before.

It can improve your posture

As people grow older, they start to have bad habits, especially in their posture. Slouching when you’re at rest or inactivity can cause muscle tensions and fatigue which could lead to poor posture. By continuing to unconsciously have bad posture, you’re subjecting your body to back pain, joint degeneration and even issues with your spine.

Having a good posture and proper body alignment can help prevent strain and pain on different parts of your body. By using trigger points therapy, it can relieve pain and release the tightness and tensions from your body. By doing this, it can strengthen your core muscles and improve your health.

Improving your posture also helps to ease the pain in your muscles since it doesn’t put unnecessary strain on them. This is something that athletes can benefit from as it also relieves pain after a heavy workout session. Not only that, but it will also hurt less when they work out.

It helps increase blood flow

Trigger points therapy is a method of massage that applies pressure on different points all over the body. These trigger points can cause congestions or blockages in the muscles, limiting the flow of blood through the muscles. By pressing these points, can improve the elasticity of the arteries, which in turn results in better blood flow.

With better blood flow, muscles will be able to get the nutrients and oxygen needed for them to function and perform their daily tasks. Not only that, increasing the blood flow can help your muscles relax and be more effective in doing their tasks.

How to ease pain from the trigger points at home

There are times when you want to relieve the pain immediately when it strikes your back or neck. Since these pains are usually caused by tight muscle knots on the trigger points, one way to relieve the pain is to put pressure on them. 

Sometimes, just a little rub with enough pressure can ease the pain. Take a look at some of the treatments you can use to relax your muscles.

  • If you feel pain right after an activity, you can use an ice pack to ease the pain immediately. If in case the pain persists over time or you wake up with sore muscles, you can use a heating pad instead to help ease muscle tightness.
  • You can also massage the trigger point to loosen the knot and help your muscles to relax. You can use your thumb, palm, or even a small hard enough ball and move them in small, circular motions to massage them.
  • You can also take anti-inflammatory medicines to relieve muscle pain. 
  • Pay attention to activities that may be causing the trigger points of your body to get aggravated. Once you’ve noted that, try to avoid doing those activities if you can. Not only will it help relieve the pain, but it also prevents you from experiencing it further.
  • An uncomfortable workspace can also contribute to muscle tensions and pains. If so, you can try using a more ergonomic chair to help prevent trigger points. Not only that, make sure that you have the right posture while working, especially for longer times.
  • Add some exercises to your daily routine to help ease muscle tensions. Include exercises that engages the neck and shoulder muscles. You can also do some exercises that targets the trapezoid muscles. This will help stretch and warm up these muscles and prevent any muscle knots from forming

Take note that trigger points can be a response to mental and physical stress. Any kind of massage will help both your body and mind to relax and calm down. In turn, this should remove any stress from you that may be causing these trigger points. 

These are just some of the ways to ease the pain caused by trigger points on the spot. While you won’t be able to remove trigger points, it’s best to have irregular sessions to make sure that you won’t have bursts of pain daily. 

Here at Dynamic Massage, we have some of the best therapists that can do this for you. All our therapists are professionals and will be able to evaluate the cause of pains in your body and identify if you need trigger point therapy. They can perform the therapy anytime and will be glad to help you have a relaxing and comfortable time.

Take note that trigger points can come from emotional or physical stress too. A massage is always a great way to relax not only your body but your mind as well. That’s why it’s important to have a regular session to help you relax despite your busy work schedule.