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Trigger Point Therapy


What  are Triggerpoints?

Triggerpoints are knots, lumps or strings of muscle tissue that are the cause of most muscle pain and dysfunction. Some triggerpoints may be obvious to a person in pain but most are not noticed until direct pressure is applied to them by a skilled triggerpoint massage therapist. Often when a triggerpoint has pressure applied to it, it will refer pain to another area. The ones that you feel an immediate sensation with are called active triggerpoints. The triggerpoints that you don't notice until pressure is applied to them are called latent triggerpoints.

Often the area of your body that is in pain is not the cause of the problem but only a symptom. Triggerpoints in other areas of the body are usually found to be the cause of such pain. The body has over 200 pairs of muscles in which triggerpoints can be found.  Triggerpoints can be the cause of sports injuries, chronic pain, depression, muscle tension and fatigue. They are related to diseases such as fibroymalgia and other myofascial (muscle pain) pain syndromes.  Triggerpoints are not the same as Shiatsu or accupressure points which are points along the meridians of the body. They are also different from tenderpoints which are usually 'soft spots' in the muscles that create pain.

Myofascial triggerpoints can also be the cause of emotional distress. When we carry pain around with us all day it requires a lot of energy. Emotions are also locked in muscle tissue that is tight and we often do not know what came first - the intense emotions or the muscle tension. Releasing triggerpoints can also relieve the emotional stress.  Triggerpoints can be the cause of headaches, fibromyalgia, TMJ, insomnia, sciatica, heel pain, muscle strains and many other health conditions.
 

What causes Triggerpoints?

While there is much research and information on triggerpoints, there is not one widely accepted answer.  They can begin forming when there is an injury or sustained load on a muscle. Postural distortions in the body can lead to increased strain on a muscle leading to the formation of a triggerpoint.  Repetitive movements can overload muscle. Even though sitting at a desk does not seem like strenuous work, it does require that your muscles be strong enough to hold you up for that amount of time without moving much.

Nutritional deficiencies can also influence the health of your muscles. Tavell and Simmons (two promintent triggerpoint specialists) state that half the patients they treat for chronic pain are found to be lacking in nutrients such as Vit B, Vit C and folic acid as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, mangnesium and potassium. What we eat as well as the things we do that deplete this vital nutrients from our body play into the formation of triggerpoints as well as the healing of triggerpoints.

There are a few different methods of treating triggerpoints.  We use direct pressure on the exact points to help reduce the pain in the triggerpoint which allows the muscle knot to start relaxing and resume proper functioning.  Because of the body holds muscle memory, it often takes a series of sessions to completely relieve pain caused by triggerpoints. 



 

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