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What is Trigger Point Therapy and How Can it Help Me?

Posted May 25 2012 7:45am

Trigger points are knots of muscle that form on one of more than 620 “trigger sites” on the body. Usually they are found within a band of muscle. Believed to be caused by stress, poor posture and exertion, trigger points can be excruciating. Active trigger points refer pain to the surrounding area or another point further away. Latent trigger points do not send pain to other areas, except when pressed. Key trigger points are found along nerve pathways and will activate other trigger points; successful treatment must target the key trigger point in order to eliminate pain in both sites.

Hypersensitive, tender to the touch and sending jolts of pain and twitching when pressed, trigger points demand relief. Trigger Point Therapy was devised as a way to eliminate the pain. In Trigger Point Therapy, pressure on the trigger point coaxes the knot of muscle to relax. Because it involves direct pressure on a painful spot, discomfort may increase during treatment. When treatment is effective, however, clients find they have reduced pain, increased flexibility and greater range of motion. People with fibromyalgia, chronic myofascial pain syndrome, repetitive strain injuries, back pain, sciatica, various forms of nerve pain, headaches and migraines are among the many who can get relief from this approach.

A number of techniques are available for treatment. They include deep pressure, massage, vibration, electro-stimulation, and injections in some particularly difficult cases. Self-massage with a small ball or other object may be taught. In a more acute case, injections may be necessary. Trigger point injections (performed only by medical doctors) may contain saline, steroids, and local anesthetics and can cause a trigger point to relax or dissipate.

Clients who have undergone successful treatment will benefit in a number of ways— starting with a significant reduction in pain. That’s not all, however. Circulation will improve, stiffness will decrease, posture may improve and physical tension will decline. Trigger Point Therapy can be a very effective way to eliminate trigger point pain.

Practitioners who use Trigger Point Therapy have training in recognizing and treating trigger points. They include myofascial trigger point therapists, osteopathic doctors (DOs), chiropractors, dentists, physical therapists, massage therapists and others. Trigger Point Therapists accredited by the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists have a “CMTPT” or “MTPT” after their names.

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