We've all experienced what a knot in the back, shoulders or neck feels like. They can be incredibly pain and uncomfortable. These knots are one of the main reasons why people receive massage therapy. Sometimes, these knots can cause pain in areas that are surrounding them. The pain then radiates through that point causing discomfort in more than one area of the body. These specific knots are called trigger point, and luckily, we have massage therapists here at Elements Massage in Mequon that are trained in trigger point therapy. Here is everything you need to know about trigger points:
What is a trigger point?
Most of us have experience tension in the body at some point in some time. Sometimes that tension accumulates and turns into a knot in the back, shoulders or neck. The knot you feel can sometimes be a trigger point. Both trigger points and knots can both be very painful. The difference between a trigger point and a knot is a trigger point is a knot that causes pain in another area. Trigger points have the ability to radiate pain through different areas of the body. The discomfort may manifest as numbness, tingling and pain throughout a widespread area. For example, low back pain may be caused by a trigger point in the frontal hip. Furthermore, when the trigger point is found and pressed on, the sensation of pain will be felt in the way you were experiencing the discomfort.
What causes a trigger point?
Trigger points form from inadequate flow of oxygen and blood to a certain muscle group.The flow of blood and oxygen keep our muscles clean of toxins. When there is not enough blood flow or oxygen to the muscle tissue the toxins accumulate causing a trigger point. We can accumulate trigger points from many different sources. Sometimes trigger points develop due to over use of a certain muscle group. For example, runners may experience more trigger points in the gluteal muscles, hamstrings, quads and hips. It may be an exercise or sport that is causing us to over use a muscle group, or it could be as simple as a daily task of reaching to get something, or walking in a certain way. Another cause of trigger points could be bad posture. When we have bad posture, and work at a desk or computer for a long period of time, we can cut off blood flow and oxygen to the neck and shoulders which can cause trigger points.
How are trigger points treated?
Trigger points can be treated at home, or through a massage therapist or a chiropractor. In order to release trigger points, there must be pressure applied to the trigger point. Immediately when the pressure is applied, the discomfort and pain that the trigger point was causing you with become intense. After pressure has been applied to the trigger point for some time, the pain will dissipate. Trigger points accumulate inside muscle due to a build up of toxins and a lack of oxygen and blood flow. When applying pressure to the trigger point the toxins break down and blood flow and oxygen and able to flow into that space. At home you can use a tennis ball, a racket ball, or a golf ball to put pressure on the trigger point to get it to release and dissipate. If you are receiving trigger point therapy from a massage therapist or chiropractor, they will apply pressure to your trigger points for you. My personal recommendation would be to go to a professional, either a massage therapist or a chiropractor, before you try to work on them yourself. The reason being, the massage therapist or the chiropractor will know where the trigger points are and they can show you exactly where you need to put pressure. Then, once you know where your trigger points are get out the golf ball, racket ball or tennis ball to work on them yourself.
How can you prevent trigger points?
Because trigger points are caused by lack of blood flow and oxygen and the build up of toxins, the best way to prevent trigger points from happening is to keep your body clean from toxins. Eating healthy is a great way to keep your body clear of toxins. Exercise also helps to clear toxins out of the body, as well as stimulating blood flow and increasing oxygen in the body. You can also practice breathing techniques. It is said that 70% of the bodies toxins are released from breath. One of my favorite breathing techniques is Sama Vritti Pranayma, otherwise known as equal breathing. This is counting up to a number during and inhale, lets say for 3 seconds, and then counting down to 3 seconds for the exhale. This can be done sitting up, or laying down. I would recommend just sitting with the breath for about 5 to 10 minutes. The longer you practice this breathing technique the more you will the positive effect. In addition to eating healthy, exercising and practicing breathing techniques, stretching regularly and maintaining good posture are good ways to prevent trigger points.
At Elements we have several different AWESOME massage therapists that are trained in trigger point therapy. If you are looking for specific work done to a specific area, feel free to book a 30 minute massage for focus work. If you are looking to add trigger point to a relaxation experience I would recommend doing a 60 minute or a 90 minute for total relaxation. Call 262-236-9770 to book your appointment or book online at https://elementsmassage.com/mequon. We look forward to seeing you.