Trigger Point Therapy to Release Deep "Knots"
Trigger Point Massage
Trigger point therapy is an integrated approach to the relief of myofascial pain and dysfunction. Trigger point massage involves deactivating trigger points – commonly experienced as “knots” in the muscle – that may cause local pain or refer pain and other sensations, such as headaches, in other parts of the body. Therapists apply manual pressure to relieve myofascial pain.
What are Trigger Points?
Clients typically feel trigger points as “knots” in muscles and connective tissue that have persistent tension. Trigger points were first discovered and mapped by Janet G. Travell (President Kennedy's physician) and David Simons. Trigger points have been photomicrographed and imaged in MRIs. These points relate to dysfunction in the myoneural junction, also called neuromuscular junction (NMJ), in muscle, and therefore this modality is different from reflexology, acupressure and pressure point massage.
How does Trigger Point Therapy Work?
Trigger point therapy is a noninvasive therapeutic modality for the relief and control of myofascial pain and dysfunction. The goal of treatment is the client’s recovery from or a significant reduction in myofascial pain. The treatment goal is achieved through a systematized approach. Treatment consists of trigger point compression, myomassage, passive stretching, and a regime of corrective exercises.
Success may be measured subjectively by the level of pain reduction experienced by the client and objectively through increased range of motion, strength, endurance, and other measures of improved function. Trigger point therapy relies heavily on client-therapist interaction, including verbal and nonverbal elements. The therapist encourages the client to be personally responsible for their improvement, with attention to such factors as nutritional intake, stress, proper exercises, mechanical abnormalities, and other physical components. These elements protect the client from delayed diagnosis, delayed treatment, or contraindicated treatment, which are the concerns of first order.
What to Expect from Trigger Point Massage?
Like Deep Tissue work, the pressure that the massage therapist employs to trigger points can be uncomfortable during the massage and sore for a few days after. Clients should not experience real pain, however, and it’s important for the client and therapist to communicate to ensure the session stays within the client’s comfort zone. Remember that the “knots” likely developed over a period of years, and so may take repeated, intensive work to resolve.