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Explaining a "Knot": How to improve and eliminate the problem

Kymberly Northey Oct 18, 2012

    “Knots,“ also known as Trigger Points, are typically the root of most aches and pains you may notice in your body.  There are actually a few different causes for Trigger Points.  It’s important for the therapist to know how to locate them and also determine the type of trigger it is to make the massage session the most successful.  They should go over with you a brief history of what you have been experiencing and investigate the problem areas and determine a plan of action for your session.  


    There are two types of Trigger Point factors:  Activating and Perpetuating.  Activating factors may include automobile accidents, sporting accidents, acute illness, emotionally charged events and new shoes or terrain.  This factor is generally associated with a more mechanical abuse to the muscles that push the muscles to the max or beyond what they can withstand causing the muscle to become dysfunctional.  The Perpetuation factor is a prolonged pattern of activity, or repetitiveness, that causes the muscle to shorten and cause a lack of motion and constant irritation to the Trigger Point.  Examples of this include the following:  work-related stress, living in a stressful environment, lack of sleep, dehydration, postural distortions, and ergonomically-incorrect work stations.


    It is important to not only know the cause of the trigger point but also the type of trigger it is.  They are classified as active (awake) or latent (asleep).  Active triggers are noticeable and cause the pain and tenderness in the affected area and prevent full range of motion.  These triggers are typically found in the muscles that play a huge role in posture such as the neck, shoulders and pelvic region.  These cause pain and are the reason people seek out massage the most.  Latent triggers are not noticeable when it comes to being painful, but can be noticed due to the lack of motion in the area or a constant numbness or stiffness.  Typically these go unnoticed until a therapist palpates the affected area and begins treatment on it.  These can be found in areas of the body that have been used in a repetitive way over a long period of time causing the body to essentially become used to the activity and “sleep.”


    There are several methods available to help treat the affected areas.  First, would be to find the root of the problem and work directly with it.  Also, it is important to work the surrounding areas as well to help release the tension allowing the muscle band to lengthen.  Most times it is not the area that hurts that is the root of the problem.  Educating the client on what they have encountered during the session and giving feedback and suggestions can help the team work hand in hand in repairing the body.  Another of the key ingredients is the cooperation of the client.  It is important that the client help take responsibility in self-help care to go along with the therapist working specifically with the dysfunctional muscles.  Some of these suggestions would be to hydrate, practice yoga, stretch, exercise, seek chiropractic care and be aware of daily activities.  It should be the goal of both parties to eliminate or decrease the pain and dysfunction and reach a point of maintenance to insure the problem won’t return full force.  
   

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