Trigger Point Therapy | Massage | Ravenswood Chiropractic
Trigger Point Therapy Massage
Have you ever felt a painful “knot” in a muscle, especially in tight muscles? These tender, painful spots are known as trigger points and they can be difficult to ignore. Indeed, you shouldn’t write off these pains as general soreness that comes with a hard days work. Some trigger points, if left untreated, can cause muscle weakness and even reduce your range of motion.
There are two types of trigger points: active trigger points and latent trigger points. Active trigger points may radiate pain to other areas of the body. Latent trigger points don’t radiate pain and usually aren’t painful unless pressure is applied to them.
Pain radiating from active trigger points is usually constant and often described as a dull, deep ache. Many of our patients report a heavy, numb feeling as well. Sometimes the pain radiating from active trigger points isn’t constant, but only radiates during rest or movement. Depending on the severity of the injury to the muscle, trigger points can be minor irritations or sources of severe, debilitating pain. Active trigger points can also weaken your muscles and restrict your range of motion.
Because trigger points are soft tissue injuries, they won’t show up in X-rays, MRIs, or other scans. They must be diagnosed with an exam by a skilled healthcare professional.
Here at Ravenswood Chiropractic in Andersonville, our massage therapists are trained and experienced in trigger point therapy and have helped many patients in Chicago find relief from their trigger point pain.
The History of Trigger Point Therapy
The term “myofascial trigger point” was first coined in 1942 by Janet Travell, MD. Travell — along with her research co-author David Simons, MD — is seen as the original definitive authority on trigger point and myofascial research. Travell and Simons provided the most extensive collection of clinical research on the subject of trigger point therapy in Western Medicine. But the subject of trigger point therapy had been studied by others for years beforehand, even if it didn’t have a name. For example, in Chinese Medicine, trigger point therapy provided the basis for acupressure and “dry needling” acupuncture techniques.
Where Do Trigger Points Come From?
When muscles sense that they are in danger of being stretched out too far or too quickly, they will contract to protect themselves. When these contractions lead to a cycle of muscle spasms, trigger points can develop. Trigger points can cause blood and oxygen to be reduced or cut off to the affected area, leading to metabolic problems. While this sounds serious, trigger points are quite common. Many people will experience trigger point pain, resulting from sports injuries, accidents, surgical scars, repetitive actions, poor posture, and even certain vitamin deficiencies.
So How Can You Get Rid Of Trigger Points?
Minor trigger points can be remedied by relaxing in a hot bath and soothing the overworked muscles. But when the trigger points reoccur due to another underlying cause, you can seek treatment from professionals, like the experienced massage therapists at Ravenswood Chiropractic in Andersonville.
What to Expect From Trigger Point Therapy
Our massage therapists will use gentle pressure on your trigger points to allow them to relax and release, thus breaking the cycle of spasms. While the pressure is applied for a few seconds, you may feel a soreness at the trigger point. This soreness will soon decrease once the pressure is released, however, and the pain in the area will begin to subside. The therapist may work on the same trigger point a few different times during one session. Our massage therapists are experts at determining the precise amount of pressure and duration to use based on the feedback from your muscles as well as your verbal feedback. Trigger point therapy is not the same as a relaxing spa massage. In can, in fact, be painful at times. But it is important to remember that trigger point therapy is designed to ultimately resolve the underlying condition causing pain.
Depending upon your personal situation, your therapist may determine that additional massage therapies should be used in conjunction with trigger point therapy. In addition to massage therapy, we may also use ultrasound therapy and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation to address patients’ trigger points. It is usually best to determine the underlying cause and treat it early as it is easiest to treat problems when they are small ones before they become big and more difficult to treat. To this end, we also work to treat the underlying cause of the trigger points and then map out a plan for long-term treatment. All sessions will end with stretching the muscles to encourage relaxation.
Attend Our Free Couple Massage Trigger Point Therapy Workshop
We also offer couples massage trigger point therapy workshops throughout the year. We encourage you to bring your spouse, friend, or family member to one of these workshops. This is a great way to help your friend or partner to identify trigger points and help each other to resolve them between visits to our office.
Could You Benefit From Trigger Point Therapy?
There is more to trigger point therapy than just relieving pain at the trigger points. Massage therapy targeting trigger points can also help increase flexibility, range of motion, and muscle coordination by removing muscle spasms from the equation.
If you suffer from any of the following conditions, trigger point therapy may be helpful for you: