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Trigger Point Therapy

Why haven’t I heard of “trigger points” before?

In all likelihood, you have heard the phenomenon of trigger points described, but often under the catchall phrase “knotted muscles.” What knotted muscles actually describe are clusters of muscle tissue that has either gone into spasm in an extremely concentrated area of your body, or which has become bound by the muscle tissue itself. When this has happened, it’s often referred to as a “trigger point.”

Sometimes these trigger points aren’t at the actual site of where the pain and stiffness is centered, making physical therapy a valued part of locating and understanding the origin of this “referred pain.”

What is trigger point therapy?

A Trigger Point (TrPt) is a hyperirritable spot associated within a taut band of a skeletal muscle that is painful on compression or muscle contraction, and usually responds with a referred pain pattern distant from the spot.

Myofascial (pertaining to a muscle and its sheath of connective tissue, or fascia) pain often results from a muscle injury or a repetitive strain. When stressed or injured, muscles often form trigger points, like contracted knots that cause pain and tightness.  These in turn can pull on tendons and ligaments associated with the muscle and can cause pain deep within a joint where there are no muscles. When trigger points are present in muscles there is often pain and weakness in the associated structures.

Muscle knots are actually hyperirritable spots in muscle or fascial tissue known as myofascial trigger points. They will often feel like a lump that can range in size from about the size of a pinhead to about the size of a pea. In larger muscles, they may be about the size of a fingernail.

A therapist may use myotherapy, massage or mechanical vibration, pulsed ultrasound, electrostimulation, ischemic compression and stretching techniques that invoke reciprocal inhibition within the musculoskeletal system. A therapist may also use various tools to direct pressure directly upon the trigger point, to avoid overuse of their hands.

A successful treatment protocol relies on identifying trigger points, resolving them and, if all trigger points have been deactivated, elongating the structures affected along their natural range of motion and length. In the case of muscles, which is where most treatment occurs, this involves stretching the muscle within its natural range. Fascia surrounding muscles should also be treated to elongate and resolve strain patterns, otherwise muscles will simply be returned to positions where trigger points are likely to re-develop.

What conditions can trigger point therapy treat?

Because your fascia tissue network is so complex and widespread, a number of conditions have their origin there. Trigger point therapy helps treat many conditions, including:

  • Whiplash
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel and other repetitive work injuries
  • Frozen shoulder and other range-of-motion issues
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder

 

With extensive training in trigger point therapy, our expert physical therapist will work with you to restore your muscle and joints’ natural movement. Soon you’ll be pain-free, and able to move freely. Free Consult at Bradenton, FL center or call us on (941) 752-0758.

Sources

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/expert-answers/myofascial-release/faq-20058136

http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/physical-therapy/myofascial-release-therapy

https://www.painscience.com/tutorials/trigger-points.php

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