Trigger point therapy uses therapeutic massage techniques to locate and alleviate pain caused by trigger points located throughout the body. What are trigger points? Essentially, they’re small, localized muscle cramps, usually confined to only one or two of the small fibers that comprise a muscle. These palpable knots respond excessively to even small amounts of stimuli and are a common source of chronic discomfort. The hypersensitivity of these nodules can also cause the discomfort to radiate outward, referring (or “triggering”) pain, tenderness, tingling, and even numbness to other areas of the body.
This referred pain, mediated through the brain and spinal cord, appears in predictable patterns. For example, a trigger point in the peroneus muscle–a muscle on the outside of the lower leg that makes the foot move down and outward–will cause pain in the ankle and not in the side of the leg, where the muscle is actually located.
Trigger points are commonly caused by the muscle fatigue and irritation created by the repetitive motions of our daily lives. Other causes can range from direct trauma to the affected area, skeletal asymmetry (such as a shorter leg or a pelvic imbalance), deficiencies in vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin C, or folic acid, infections, and even allergies.
Initially, trigger points are treated with direct pressure that is applied for about 10 to 30 seconds, by fingers, knuckles, elbows and sometimes even pinching the muscle. The amount and duration of pressure varies, depending on how sensitive the trigger points are and the client’s response to the stimuli. This pressure forces the blood and oxygen from the tissue. When the pressure is released, the body responds by forcing blood black into the affected area, thus increasing circulation and re-oxygenating the tissue.
This procedure is repeated–depending on the client’s comfort level–until the active trigger point relaxes to a latent state. Reconditioning the muscle with massage strokes after the pain is reduced makes latent trigger points less prone to reactivate.
Since everyone on our team is well versed in trigger point technique, you need only to inquire with your therapist about whether it may benefit you.