Trigger Point Therapy works on the principle that the myofascial fibres get bunched up in certain places and create hard nodes of tension, which results in referred pain. I have found it an invaluable tool over the years. It doesn’t cure everything, but it alleviates a surprising amount of stuff. It’s a big area, so I can’t cover it here, but a book I recommend is ‘The Trigger Point therapy Workbook’ by Clair Davies, as it pretty much covers all the most important trigger points. There are lots of sites online too.
Some people use special massage tools, or even injections. I have a small sea-worn rock, about tennis ball size, perfectly spherical, and this works great. Plus it’s mostly your thumbs you use.
The fascia are the connective tissues in the body, the translucent membranes that parcel up all parts of our interior…if you eat meat it’s the white stringy stuff over the muscle. Some say that tension in the fascia accounts for 85% of our pain.
How to tell you have found a Trigger Point? It takes FIRM pressure to elicit pain.
They are not the same as acupressure points (acupressure points do not refer pain) and not the same as tender points (which respond with pain to light touch). When a trigger point is active you will know it when you press down hard on it…the pain can be enough to make you want to pull away.
trigger points tend to keep the muscle band they are in shorter and stiffer than is healthy. Thus they reduce range of movement and refer pain. Stretching or yoga or any body movements don’t release trigger points. Therapy needs to be applied exactly to the point.
Deep stroking massage.
Sometimes you have to go get someone else to do it for you, if you cannot get pressure on the area, but I reckon you can do a lot for yourself. This is how i do it…others may give totally different instructions..use your intuition too. Detect Trigger point via extreme tenderness. Press down hard into that point with thumb or elbow. Hold for a slow count of 9. (Ischemic compression..some don’t recommend it..I find it very useful). And then release quickly. Then go back into the point again with a few circular movements, pushing in hard (yes, it’s sore), and then do short, deep, strokes over the point in one direction. About 10 to 12 strokes. Aim to work on a point 3 times day.
Okay, just a very few examples.
I have found knee pain is usually from trigger points in front thigh muscles up near hip. Sinus pain is usually from trigger points in the sternocliedomastoids which travel from below ear diagonally to hollow between collar-bones. Trigger points here can make you dizzy, have visual problems, feel faint. You can have pain all the way down to finger tips from trigger points in scalene muscles in this area. Headaches can be from trigger points around jaws and cheek bones. There can be referred hyperventilation from tight trigger points in pectorals on chest. Lower back pain can come from trigger points in buttocks. use a rock or hard tennis ball and sit down onto it (kind of sideways) and do the pressure massage that way. This works great for trigger points in Piriformis too which can refer pain all the way down to toes.
I see Davies book is on Scribd…
(Skip the first 30 pages..save yourself some time…)
The best thing to do if you don’t want to study trigger points is to move out from any point of pain in your body along the lines of muscles and tendons (move in half inch radials along muscle bands). Go in both directions, up and down away from pain, so from knee for example work down to ankles, and up to hips. Press in along the muscle band, and you will eventually find an acutely sore trigger point. Work on it and see if there is any improvement in the pain you are trying to treat. if not, look for another trigger point and repeat until you have released.
This site lists conditions and their possible trigger points