Before we can define trigger point massage, let’s talk about what a trigger point is. A trigger point is a spot that is sensitive to pressure, mainly in muscle tissue, and often associated with aching and stiffness. You might think of them as muscle knots.
The good news, in a way, is that almost everyone gets them. However, some people get more of them, and they range in degree of pain. They go by many names, but typically in the medical or massage word, we refer to them as myofascial trigger point (TrP).
What causes a trigger point to hurt?
There are varying medical opinions and diagnosis on this subject, which in turn creates varying advice on how to treat them (more on that later). For the sake of this article, we will report on common and more popular beliefs.
The cause of trigger points is typically believed to be that an area of muscles gets tightly conracted (like a mini muscle cramp). The “cramp” or “knot” restricts blood flow to that muscle area, which causes irriation and often pain to that area.
Other thoughts and diagnoses include a trigger point is a sensory disturbance. Or the pain is a result of irritated peripheral nerves, a type of peripheral neuropathy. Regardless of the true medical reason for the trigger points, they are painful and annoying. Depending on the severity of the pain, it could be mild discomfort at the site of the trigger point, or be more severe and include aching and stiffness that spreads out around the site.
If you have several trigger points grouped together this is referred to as myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). As you can imagine, this can be quite miserable and debilitating.
Signs and Symptoms of Trigger Point Symptoms
- Sore spots in the muscle that are sensitive to pressure.
- A dull, aching, pain.
- The pain is deep and feels like it’s in the muscle (not the joints).
- If your limb(s) are affected they may feel a little weak, heavy, and stiff.
- The pain is in a specific area and has a center it radiates from.
- The pain can not be associated with a clear injury or cause.
- Flare-ups can occur in response to extremes of position, exercise, or temperature.
- The pain generally comes in episodes or flare-ups, but these can last a long time (weeks or months).
- The pain may move around a bit (for example, to the opposite side of your body).
- The pain is not typically sharp and is not linked to movement or injury (like a sprain or strain).
Note: myofascial pain syndrome is not the same thing as Fibromyalgia, but they often have similar symptoms that can overlap and be hard to differentiate and diagnose properly.
Things that can help with Trigger Point Pain
There are many treatments available to relieve the pain caused by trigger points, depending on the severity and the individual patients and their preferences. However, the following things are easy to do and typically provide some relief.
- Hot showers and baths.
- Stretching and exercise.
- Trigger Point Massage
Trigger Point Massage
Since trigger points involve muscles, massage therapy can quite effective in providing relief. A skilled massage therapist knowledgeable in trigger point massage will work with you to locate the source of discomfort. He or she will use alternating cycles of pressure and release to ease the knotted muscles.
Restricted muscles can be stubborn and have created patterns of pain. You will most likely experience relief and sometimes soreness (the good kind) after one massage. However, it may take a few treatments to eliminate the pain and “un-knot” the muscles, depending on the severity and time they have been restricted.
Are You Interested in Trigger Point Massage Therapy?
We at All Body Kneads would love to talk to you about the pain you are experiencing and create a service plan that can best address your issues. Please contact us at:
Business Phone (517) 898-2899
6910 South Cedar Street, Suite #4
Lansing, MI 48911-6912
You can also schedule an appointment online at here.
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