Trigger Point Therapy is used to help reduce or eliminate the source of multiple types of pain without harmful medications and painful surgeries. In our fast paced, modern society the levels of psychological stress added to the decrease of physical activities and performance of repetitive tasks have led many to experience chronic pain.
A trigger point is basically a protection mechanism for your muscles. In response to overuse, adrenaline or injury the trigger point will cause the muscle to stiffen to stop you from using it. When the muscle spasms or stiffens this results in accumulation of toxins in the muscle, nutrient loss and stagnation of the blood at that trigger point. Trigger points can be the cause of headaches, TMJ, carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica. Any muscles that are involved in repetitive motions can be affected.
It was in the 1940’s that Dr. Janet Travell, MD first clearly mapped and described trigger points. But most researchers believe that acupuncture or acupressure and trigger points have some relation. Physicians have slowly begun to support the theories of Trigger point therapy after over 70 years of research which show the benefits of pain relief that can be achieved. Many of them inject trigger points with steroids or local anesthetics and other medications such as muscle relaxants to release them. An alternative to injections is that of manual release.
In trigger point therapy practitioners use stretch techniques to release trigger points. At times the skin is sprayed with a numbing agent to enable the stretching by interrupting the pain for short periods while this is done. Direct pressure can be used as well. The trigger point is manually located which feels like a small knot. Direct pressure is applied using the thumb and finger and held for fifteen or more seconds. The pain does temporarily increase when the pressure is applied to the correct point and then decrease as it is held.
The noninvasive manual method may be performed by doctors, physical and massage therapists and even by yourself. There are many tools and charts on the market today to assist with self therapy. Invasive therapies such as injections are usually mandated by licensed medical professionals. Be aware that all pain is not caused by trigger points and that if a few treatments do not provide relief you should be seen by your doctor to determine the origins of the pain.