How can Trigger Point Therapy help me?

Kay Shore Massage Eastbourne (11)

Personal Experience

My own experience of Trigger Point Therapy led to a fascination in this simple but such effective treatment for pain. I first went to a therapist who specialised in Trigger Point Therapy for my right upper side which had started off as shoulder pain but had gradually extended up to my neck and down my arm and into my hand. It was painful to use the computer mouse and it was affecting my work, training and emotional state.

I had used massage therapists in the past but not one who was so precise and specific in her treatment. I remember being amazed by the way she treated and its effectiveness, treating specific muscles on and around the site of pain. It was uncomfortable, but there was a pleasure and relief in being treated. I went to her for several weekly sessions and remember being practically pain free by the end of it.

What are Trigger Points?

A Trigger point is commonly known as a ‘muscle knot’. They are small areas of tightly contracted muscle and can cause pain and reduced mobility within the body. They are found in anywhere from 21% to 93% of individuals with pain complaints.

– If you press on a trigger point it can feel painful or sore.
– Pressing on a trigger point can often refer pain into another area of the body.

Trigger Point Therapy aims to release these ‘knots’ and bring the body back to its natural healthy state.

It’s ‘knot’ where you think!

The site of your pain (where it hurts) is not necessarily the source of your pain. Knowledge of Trigger Point Therapy can help establish the actual site of your pain. Lower back pain for example can be caused by Trigger Points in your Iliopsoas muscles (hip flexors). Pain in your upper arm and shoulder can be caused by Trigger Points in your Infraspinatus muscle (a muscle located over the back of your shoulder blade).

The pain pattern of Trigger Points can often be mistaken for other common complaints. For example, trigger points in the Scalene muscles (located in your neck) can reproduce symptoms in your arm and hand. This pain pattern is commonly misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome, which can lead to invasive surgery. Symptoms can easily be treated with trigger point therapy.

The SCM muscles (Sternocleidomastoid), again found in the neck, can refer pain into the face, head and jaw if filled with Trigger Points, causing horrendous symptoms such as headaches/ migraines, dizziness, jaw pain and face pain.

Trigger points in the Piriformis muscle, located in the buttock, can refer pain into the sacroiliac region, the buttock and the hip joint, sometimes causing pain down the leg, commonly confused with sciatica.

How do we get Trigger Points?

– Direct or chronic overload of a particular muscle
-Overwork fatigue caused by excessive or repetitive actions
-Trauma to the muscle
-Compression or chilling of the muscle
-Leaving the muscle in a shortened position for extended periods of time such as sleeping or sitting for extended periods or holding the phone between the ear of shoulder.
– Visceral disease, viral disease and emotional stress.

Treatment for Trigger Points

– Treatment for trigger points can include heat application, static compression, fascial techniques (Myofascial Release) and the insertion of needles into the Trigger Point itself (Medical acupuncture).
– It is important to locate and treat all surrounding muscles located in the pain pattern.
Based on the theory of Trigger Point Therapy for treating pain, it suggests that if we only treat the area of pain, results are unlikely to achieve lasting results. It is likely that if the cause is Trigger Points and you only treat the area of pain, you will be in the wrong place 75% of the time (Chaitow and DeLany 2000,p.69).

Helping yourself

The good news is that you can learn to do Trigger Point Therapy on yourself (of course, working with an expert therapist is going to get you results quicker and more effectively). A great book to learn about Trigger Points and how to treat them yourself is ‘The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook’, by Clair Davies.

So, if you have been trying to treat your pain condition and have only been looking at the site of pain, it may be time to broaden your approach.