What is trigger point therapy?

What are Trigger points?

A Trigger point is defined as a hyperirritable point within a taught band of muscle, (a tender “knot” in the muscle tissue). These can be acute sources of pain, or latent, unnoticed by the patient until a practitioner applies pressure.

One of the clinical features of a trigger point is that it may refer pain in a predictable pain pattern. These patterns have been clearly mapped out which allows us to precisely locate the trigger point within the tight bands of muscle at the causative area.

trigger pointThis picture shows an active trigger point in the upper trapezius muscle. Can you see how the point in the shoulder creates a headache in the temples?

 

 

Trigger points can be a major cause of your musculoskeletal pain. They can cause or contribute to headaches, dizziness, menstrual pain, neck and jaw pain, low back pain, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow, and many kinds of joint pain mistakenly ascribed to arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, or ligament injury. Trigger points may also cause numbness, tingling, weakness, or lack of normal range of movement, dizziness, sinus congestion, nausea, and heartburn.

How do trigger points develop?

Trigger Points may develop due to a wide range of factors, including:

  • Overuse, disuse, misuse, toxicity, stress, anxiety, depression, postural imbalance
  • Endocrine dysfunction, viral/bacterial infections, vascular disease, inflammation
  • An acute muscular strain such as from a car accident, a fall or sprain or excessive exercise
  • Chronic overworking of muscles from poor sitting posture, poor working or sleeping habits, or by repetitive movements;
  • Disc injuries or degenerative conditions and injured or compressed spinal or peripheral nerves.

Your general state of health can also perpetuate trigger points or predispose you to developing them.

How can we deactivate trigger points?

Your Practitioner uses Trigger Point therapy to discover the trigger points and eradicate them. They achieve this through applying direct digital pressure to the specific trigger points for a period of time. Many of you may have already experienced this as a fading away of pain/sensation while working with the breath. As pressure is applied to trigger points, some patients ask if the practitioner has released the downward pressure over the point (which they haven’t). This experiential evidence of being able to immediately release pain through digital pressure and breath can be a profoundly empowering experience.

(guest writer: Emily)

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