Can Trigger Point Therapy Fix Your Pain?
Trigger point therapy helps fix your pain by going straight to the source. This massage modality treats tiny knots that cause - or "refer" in massage speak - pain to another part of your body. It's totally possible that the throbbing deep in your shoulder blade comes from a knot in the front of your throat. Or that the clenching pain in your hamstring comes from your lower back.
Sound to good to be true? It's not, for a couple reasons. The first is that we know it works, because of research, most of it pioneered in the 1980s by Dr. Tiffany Field, Director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School. The other reason is that it only works to fix your pain when a trigger point is the cause and an experienced, knowledgeable massage therapist helps you heal the problem - usually over a few sessions.
But when it's the right type of massage for your pain, it can work wonders. Long-held tension disappears. Extreme pain is relieved. Mobility is restored.
HOW DOES TRIGGER POINT THERAPY WORK?
Trigger point therapy isn't the same as your average relaxation massage. This is a style for recovering athletic performance or for pain management. Your therapist will usually focus only on the areas that need work, instead of a whole-body massage like you might get at a spa or while on vacation.
The massage usually starts with your therapist kneading the muscles where the trigger points are. Once your muscles are warm, he or she will use timing and pressure to release adhesions or sticky spots between muscle fibers. Those adhesions are your trigger points. When your therapist hits the right spot, you'll probably feel referred pain where you thought the problem was-even if it's clear on the opposite end of your body.
After working to relieve the trigger point, your therapist will help you through a series of gentle stretches, also specifically timed. While you might have felt your pain flare while your therapist was putting pressure on the trigger point, the stretching is usually very relaxing.
This part of the massage helps your body remember that muscle fibers aren't supposed to stick together, even if they had been stuck together for awhile. Your therapist will probably have some lifestyle suggestions for you, too, like modifying workouts or time spent in certain positions.
In some cases, one or two sessions can make a huge difference to fix your pain. In most cases, though, your therapist will recommend between three and ten sessions, depending on the severity of your issues and your lifestyle.
CAN YOU DIAGNOSE TRIGGER POINTS?
Sometimes, you'll know that you might have trigger points if nothing else works. For instance, you might be bewildered by heel pain that actually originates in your glutes. Or maybe you have a toothache that your dentist can't figure out, because it's a trigger point in your cheek or neck. If your pain patterns are confusing and first lines of defense don't help, seek out a trigger point massage therapist.
Massage therapists also know that trigger points follow a map. If trigger points are the culprit, referred pain in one area means a trigger point in another area. By pressing on the trigger point, the pain will appear in the referred spot. This is your proof that a trigger point is the problem. Some people might have a slightly different map, because all bodies are unique, but mostly, your therapist will be able to tell.
If trigger points are causing your pain, trigger point massage therapy is the way to fix your pain. By working with an experienced professional, you'll be able to make the necessary changes to start feeling better long-term.
Relieve your pain by booking an appointment from the Myotherapy Clinic.
Check out our previous article here.