Trigger Points 101
So you may have heard me talk about trigger points, you may know or may not know what they are. I do a lot of trigger point treatment in my massages to help relieve a lot of my clients pain and discomfort. In my experience with my clients its amazing how much your pain can be reduced and even disappear with this kind of treatment. So let me give you a little bit more of an in site on what a trigger point actually is.
What is a trigger Point?
Essentially trigger points are knots in the muscle. Its a muscle contraction that can be very painful and cause referred pain throughout the body. A trigger point is located in a taut band in the muscle, as you get closer to the muscle you have small muscle fibres that make up the muscle. On these muscle fibres you have small sarcomeres that contract and move to create movement. When these sarcomeres become over stimulated they stay contracted which causes the knot. When these sarcomeres stay contracted blood flow stops to these areas causing a tigger point, then these trigger points send out pain signals to the brain.
Trigger points keep the muscle tight and weak and it can reduce the muscles range of movement. The trigger point can cause pain with or without touching it. So that’s why it’s important to get regular treatments and I say to my clients all the time just because you’re not in pain doesn’t mean your muscles aren’t tight. When you are in pain it’s past the threshold and you may need a few treatments close to each other to get you back to your normal functioning self. So don’t leave it too late!
The trigger point can also cause referred pain to other areas of the body. That’s why you may think why are you working on that area as that’s not wear the pain is. It’s my job to look at the body as whole and figure out what could be causing the pain.
Are trigger points painful?
Yes they can be. If you have let the trigger point be contracted for too long it can cause a whole lot of pain throughout your body and make it very uncomfortable. When a trigger point is being treated you will definitely feel it, and sometimes I won’t be putting much pressure on them at all. I work on a scale of 1 -10. 10 being extremely painful, 1 being not painful we don’t want it to be over an 7 or 8. Yes it will be a little uncomfortable but as long as you can breathe through it you are fine. If I see clients wiggling or tensing up I will reduce the pressure.
Example of a trigger point
A main trigger point(s) I see are trigger points in the neck which in turn can cause headaches. I am amazed how many people get headaches and the cause is coming from the trigger points in their neck. I had one client that was taking pain medication on a daily basis for years as she would get headaches daily. So on her first session I did a mixture of dry needling and massage through her upper back and neck and the next week she came back for a follow up session and guess what she said to me! ‘Lisa I have not had one headache or taken any pain medication since I have seen you’. I was like WOW that’s impressive. Still to this day no headaches, no medication and her treatment are now at every 3rd week and she feel amazing. The power of trigger point work!
How are trigger points treated?
Trigger points will not release without proper treatment. Treatment such as using a self care massage ball and remedial massage/trigger point therapy to create better blow flow to the areas by releasing the pressure around that area.
Please note if you are in pain and you go to the doctor, they might do a scan but trigger points can’t be located in scan/xray so the doctor could just turn around and say there is no major damage just take some medication and rest up. So think about other options other than a doctor because if you are still in pain you need to get it sorted.