During many of my massage treatments I use the modality of Trigger Point Therapy. Clients ask me all the time what exactly are Trigger Points? The best answer I have found is this:
The inside of the body is covered with soft tissue called fascia. The fascia that covers your muscles is call myofascia. When the myofascia is stressed from overuse or trauma it can tear and adhere together. These adhesions are called "trigger points" and can prevent the muscles from working well. Trigger points lead to an increase in muscle stiffness and tenderness and a decrease in range-of-motion. In addition, the discomfort from trigger points can radiate from the adhesion. This is called referral pain.
So, how do you rid the body of Trigger Points? One way is basic self-treatment. Trust your instincts: rub where it hurts! Rub the trigger point with your fingertips, thumbs, fist or elbow, whatever feels easiest and most comfortable to you. Do explore for sensitive spots, but you can limit your exploration to a fairly small area of muscle tissue around the “epicenter” of your symptoms. So, for instance, if the top of your shoulder aches, search for trigger points mainly in the top of your shoulder. You will not necessarily be able to feel a bump or “knot” in your muscle, so don’t worry too much about that. With easy trigger points, successful release is typically associated with “good pain” that clear, strong, and satisfying sensation that is somehow both painful and relieving. On the other hand, if you are wincing or gritting your teeth, you probably need to be gentler.
Massage each suspected trigger point for about 30 seconds. This is actually enough for many trigger points — especially if you think that you have several that all need attention!
What if the pain does not go away? Then you find a Massage Therapist that practices trigger point therapy. The therapist will not only relieve the trigger points but the referred pain as well.
The lesson here is to know when to seek professional treatment.
Owner of The Muscle Therapy Center and practicing Massage Therapist.