Trigger point therapy is a type of alternative medicine that focuses on relieving muscle pain in various parts of the body. This specialized technique is designed to target trigger points, which are highly constricted areas of muscle tissue that produce pain in other parts of the body. These ultra-tight spots are often referred to as "knots" in the muscle, and when stimulated or compressed, they can produce shooting pain in an area that is separate from the location of the trigger point itself. For example, a trigger point in the hip might produce shooting pain down the leg, or a trigger point in the back might cause sharp pains in the neck.
This phenomenon is known as referral pain, and it is often the result of failing to locate the actual source of the problem, which is the knotted or tightly-constricted area of muscle tissue. Unless you are trained to identify and address this specific condition, it can be easy to mistake the site of the pain as the source of the pain, which can lead you on a "wild goose chase", so to speak. A professional bodywork specialist knows how to pinpoint the root of the problem, and then perform the proper movements to ease tension and release the constricted area. As a result, the associated pain and discomfort will be relieved.
Common Conditions Addressed by Trigger Point Therapy
- Migraines and/or tension headaches
- TMJ (temporomandibular joint pain)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- IT (iliotibial tract) band syndrome
- Hip pain
- Runner's heel
- Calf cramps
How It Works
Your massage therapist will first ask a series of questions and then canvass the body, using your feedback to help him/her determine the location of the trigger point. Once it has been identified, the therapist will then apply alternating pressure-and-release cycles in order to begin breaking up the knotted-up tension in the constricted area. Because direct pressure is being applied to an area that is often very sensitive, this can sometimes produce significant discomfort or even pain. While it might not be the most pleasant experience, you have to keep in mind that any pain or discomfort experienced during the session is only temporary, but it can produce a positive long-term result. In fact, it is not uncommon to experience a significant reduction in pain levels even after just one session.
After the Session
One of the most important things that clients can do after their session is to drink plenty of water. When a trigger point has been broken down, built-up toxins from the area are released into the bloodstream. If the client does not stay properly hydrated, the toxins have the potential to produce symptoms of sickness. Drinking generous amounts of water will flush these toxins out of the bloodstream, essentially eliminating any adverse effects.
One of the biggest benefits of trigger point therapy is that it is specifically tailored to the individual client. While other massage treatments tend to use a broader approach, this specialized form of alternative medicine can be personalized to address your specific needs. If you've been experiencing referral pain due to muscle knots, be sure to book an appointment with a qualified therapist such as myself so that you can start on the road to recovery.