Active And Inactive /latent Trigger Points
- Active TrP is any point that causes tenderness and referral pain pattern on palpation. Almost always central TrPs are active and some satellite TrPs are also active . Inactive TrPs can eventually become active if there is a provocative factor.
- Inactive or Latent TrPs can develop in anywhere and under fingertips feel like lumps, but are not painful. Can increase a stiffness of the muscles.
Trigger Points May Explain Many Severe And Strange Aches And Pains
I once suffered from a brutal toothache that was completely relieved by a massage therapist the day before an emergency appointment with the dentist: a particularly vivid experience, and one of the reasons I first got keen on this topic. Pain is a trickster it is often not always what it seems to be. Trigger points are a common alternative explanation.
Got a bizarre pain that just flared up one day? Sure, it might be something scary or rare. But in many cases its probably just a trigger point about as serious as banging your funny bone. But it can feel worrisome.
This is where trigger points really get interesting. In addition to minor aches and pains, muscle pain often causes unusual symptoms in strange locations. For instance, many people diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome are actually experiencing pain caused by an armpit muscle . Seriously. Im not making that up.
This odd phenomenon of pain spreading from a trigger point to another location is called referred pain. Here are some other examples of interesting referred pain leading to misdiagnosis:
Example of referred pain
Another client once spent three days in hospital for severe abdominal pain that doctors couldnt diagnose her pain was mostly relieved by massaging a trigger point in her psoas major muscle.
But most symptoms caused by myofascial pain syndrome are simply the familiar aches and pains of humanity millions of sore backs, shoulders and necks. Some of which can become quite serious.
How Does Trigger Point Massage Therapy Work
Trigger points will not heal on their own. For relief, you will need to see a massage therapist for a trigger point massage.
How does a trigger point massage work?
While there is no single type of massage labeled a trigger point massage, massage therapists can use a number of different techniques to loosen these knots, including myofascial release and deep tissue massage.
Massage works to release a trigger point by pushing fresh blood in and flushing waste material out. This helps relieve some of your pain by bringing more oxygen into the area and encouraging the muscles to release.
Other techniques, such as PNF stretching and Neural Reset Therapy, can trick your muscles into releasing trigger points through stretching and movement.
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Trigger Point Therapy Vs Acupuncture
Some forms of trigger point therapy use needles to relieve knots in your muscle fibers. Introducing the needle into a tight muscle for a few seconds causes the electrical signal within the muscle to spontaneously contract, says Hicks. And once it contracts, the muscle can relax to promote healing.
There are two kinds of trigger point injections: wet and dry needling. Wet needling uses a local numbing medication like lidocaine meant to help prevent soreness around the needle stick. Dry needling is the same thing but without the anesthetic.
Acupuncture likewise uses needles to try to target areas of the body that may be contributing to pain elsewhere. But the approaches are different. Acupuncture is a type of Chinese medicine that treats various ailments by balancing your energy flow, called chi, through needles in the skin. Trigger point therapy uses pressure to try to eliminate knots in your muscle, and doesnt always require needles.
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Can Trigger Point Therapy Help Injuries
Waiting until the train comes off the rails to try and put it back on is obviously not optimal, says Brownwhich is why your coach is always harping on you to foam roll and do that prehab maintenance work. But trigger point therapy can absolutely help you with injuriesin fact, thats the primary use of it.
Lets say you sprain your ankle, says Brown. The muscles around that joint are going to spasm and swell, because theyre protecting it. We can needle the muscles and swelling around that injury to stimulate that healing response.
This can reduce discomfort caused by increased areas of muscle tension in chronic pain conditions, acute or sub-acute injuries, and post-surgery, says Borchers.
There hasnt been a huge amount of research done specifically on dry needling, but one small study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy in 2011 found that trigger point therapyin addition to regular stretchingmay help relieve plantar heel pain . Several studies have demonstrated immediate or short-term improvements in pain and/or disability by targeting trigger points, according to a 2014 scientific review published in Physical Therapy Reviews, but the authors noted that more research is needed.
Diy Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger point therapy is not difficult and you can do-it-yourself weekly or daily as part of your self-care routine. One way is to alternate DIY home sessions with your therapists sessions. You can save time and money by learning how to deal with your own trigger points and alleviate problems before they become bigger issues. In our blog we have suggested methods and videos to help you deactivate your own trigger points that are causing pain in areas like yourshoulder or neck with a self-massage tool like the TP BuddieRx and even your own hands. A self-massage tool like the TP BuddieRx acts as an extension of your own hands to reduce strain on your fingers and other delicate joints while providing targeted release.
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When Is Trigger Point Injection Used
TPI is used to treat many muscle groups, especially those in the arms, legs, lower back, and neck. In addition, TPI can be used to treat fibromyalgia and tension headaches. The technique is also used to alleviate myofascial pain syndrome that does not respond to other treatments. However, the effectiveness of TPI for treating myofascial pain is still under study.
Trigger Point Therapy Techniques
Traditional massage therapy works by manually manipulating muscle tissue to break up collagen adhesions and realign the tissue to allow the layers to slide against one another unimpeded. Breaking up adhesions can help reduce muscle tightness and improve joint range of motion .
Myofascial release is a manual therapy technique that aims to release fascia restrictions. Fascia is located between the skin and the underlying structure of muscle and bone, and connects the muscles, organs, and skeletal structures in our body. Fascia can become restricted through injuries, stress, trauma, and poor posture.
Trigger point therapy involves applying pressure to tender muscle tissue in an effort to alleviate pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body. Trigger points are areas of muscular hyperactivity, which often cross-over with acupuncture points.
Trigger Point Benefits
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What Does A Trigger Point Massage Do
The aim of trigger point therapy is to restore normal function of the muscle and surrounding area, explains John Holman, Director of Massage Training at The Massage Company . It does this by releasing the area of hyper-irritability and soothing the surrounding tissue.
Curious about whats going on beneath the surface? Richardson explains that applying pressure increases circulation to the area. As fresh, oxygenated blood is pushed in, waste material is flushed out, which allows the muscle fibers to relax and provides some pain relief, she adds. As well as soothing pain, Richardson says a trigger point massage can be helpful in aiding recovery from an injury and that a focus on the neck, shoulders and back can promote good posture.
You may also hear about trigger point massage as a treatment for referred pain. Pain can either occur at the site of the knot or radiate to another area of the body. A headache, for example, may be referred pain from a knot in your neck. In this instance, massaging the knot in the neck could potentially alleviate headache symptoms.
The therapist knows that the trigger point will often refer pain away from the site and will use massage and stretch techniques to affect those areas, says Holman.
What Is A Trigger Point Massage
Trigger points are sore, painful spotsalso called knotsfound in muscles. These knots are sensitive and when pressure is applied, it produces pain in a different part of your body. A trigger point massage helps work out those knots and reduce the pain associated with them.
Fortunately, many people experience immediate relief after just one trigger point massage!
How does trigger point therapy work?
The objective of trigger point therapy is releasing or softening a muscle knot to reduce the knot pain and associated pain. This release happens by applying various levels of pressure to muscle knots, and then stretching the affected areas through a complete range of motion.
Though the map of muscle trigger points and associated pain is complicated, the process of relaxing the trigger points is simple.
What to expect during and after your trigger point massage
In this type of massage, your massage therapist focuses on rubbing and pressing your muscle knots. You may experience both discomfort and relief throughout the massage. After your massage, you may feel tired and have some soreness for a day or two. On the other hand, according to the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists, some people experience a boost in energy after trigger point massage.
How to avoid a trigger point massage
If you need a trigger point massage, were here for you. But we also want to help you avoid the pain of muscle knots in the first place!
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What Is Trigger Point Massage
Sep 2, 2020 | Types of Massage
Did you know the history of massage therapy goes back over 5,000 years to the ancient Egyptians?
Even without our modern understanding of the body, healers of the past learned that we respond well to human touch. Different massage techniques have evolved over the years, but the basic idea remains the same.
Theres one modality thats scientifically proven to reduce pain. Its called trigger point massage. But what exactly is a trigger point, and what does trigger point massage therapy do?
Read on to learn how this type of massage can do wonders for your health!
What Is A Muscle Knot
Their scientific term often refers to muscle knots: “trigger points,” which are focal areas within muscles that send out intense sensations if irritated . Our body gets tense all over this tension causes small but forceful contractions in various parts of our muscles, including the trigger points.
If we have a tight muscle that needs relaxation, the trigger point has lost its ability to contract and relax due to this constant tension, leading to an increased intensity of pain when pressure is applied or acquired by simple movement.
Trigger Points are not limited only to muscles, though they may also refer specifically to “migraine spots” because 90% of people with migraines experience them on their head .
In addition, trigger points will usually worsen if you apply pressure or irritate the area further, such as through massage therapy or stretching exercises, making it even more difficult for someone who suffers from chronic migraines.
The two main types of triggers are active and latent. Active trigger points are painful and can be activated by applying pressure or movement to the area. In contrast, latent ones have no pain associated with them but can become active when used.
In general, though, you want your therapist to work on activating nerve endings, so they send signals along their pathways leading up towards the brain and down to the muscles.
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Trigger Point Therapy Is Not A Miracle Cure For Chronic Pain
Trigger point therapy isnt too good to be true its probably just ordinary good. Its definitely not miraculous. Its experimental and often fails. Dry needling, the trendiest type, bombed a good quality scientific test in 2020. Good therapy is hard to find , because many practitioners are amateurish and some treatment methods are way out in left field and potentially harmful, to your wallet if nothing else. They are often barking up the wrong tree, treating so-called trigger points when theres actually another problem.
There are no trigger point whisperers. Trigger points are not little switches that can be flicked off by anyone who has sufficiently advanced technique they are a mysterious, cantankerous, complex phenomenon. Any therapist who is highly confident about their ability to banish your sore spots should probably be fired.
The good news
Good trigger point therapy is hard to find but under-rated. It can be a safe self-treatment with the potential to help with many common pain problems that dont respond well or at all to anything else. Done with care and humility, its worth dabbling in.
For veterans who have already tried and failed to treat severe trigger points, this document is especially made for you. You should learn more before giving up. This could give you a fighting chance of at least taking the edge off your pain, and maybe that is a bit of a miracle.
Is A Trigger Point Therapy Career Right For You
A trigger point therapy career requires training in the unique anatomy, physiology and kinesiology aspects that surround trigger point massage. Additionally, youll need a background in massage therapy, physical therapy or another bodywork profession and a current license in that field in order to practice.
If you are interested in trigger point therapy training, take a closer look at trigger point massage schools. Then choose the trigger point therapy training program that meets your personal and professional needs.
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History Of Trigger Points
The study of muscular pain can be traced to the 15th century. Many terms have been proposed to describe muscle related pain. The most currently acceptable terms are myofascial pain and myofascial trigger points. Dr. Janet Travell, MD , an American medical doctor and the personal rheumatologist of US president John F. Kennedy, was the first to propose the term myofascial trigger point ” in 1942. In 1960 Dr. Travell teamed up with Dr. David G. Simons, MD to further explore the realm of trigger points and myofascial pain syndrome. In 1983, Simons and Travell published their work entitled “Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction – The Trigger Point Manual”. This book was a breakthrough in the world of rheumatology, orthopedics and physiotherapy. It changed the understanding and treatment approach towards chronic pain. Since 1983, thousands of physiotherapists, doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists and other health professionals worldwide have applied trigger point therapy in their practice.
Where Can You Get Trigger Point Therapy If You Need It
There is a lot of debate about who can provide trigger point therapy and how it should be done. Some physiotherapists or massage therapists may have the training, but not all do. In some states, physical therapists are allowed to perform trigger-point injections with specific qualifications.
Massage therapists also vary in their abilities and expertise in performing manual treatment for myofascial pain syndrome — like trigger pointsdespite that many people seek out this type of service specifically because they are trained in MPS techniques.
Finally, there is no national certification process available for either group or any government regulation on what therapies need to be included under each license classification therefore, skills required by practitioners will depend on the state.
Above all these practitioners, a chiropractor can offer many different types of treatment that can also be used to relieve pain, including trigger point therapy.
Chiropractic care is an ideal type of treatment for pain relief, and chiropractors are often trained in trigger point therapy.
- Who Is A Good Candidate For This Treatment?
A good candidate for this treatment is anyone who has experienced chronic muscle tension, pain, or tightness. Common injuries seen in patients who can be helped with trigger point therapy are back and neck pains, shoulder impingement syndrome , tennis elbow, and plantar fasciitis , just to name a few.
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