People often think of a massage as a relaxing experience, something they might do occasionally, or give as a gift along with a trip to the spa. Trigger point massage therapy is another kind of massage used to treat pain and physical dysfunction. Trigger points can develop in people from all walks of life. They can affect people of all ages, office workers and labourers, elite and weekend athletes, post surgical patients, people with acute pain from injury and people with chronic pain. Trigger point massage therapy can treat a wide variety of physical conditions such as:
– back pain.
– Carple tunnel syndrome
– achy persistent pain
– pain from Fibromyalgia
– post surgical pain and scarring
– soft tissue injuries related to sports
– TMJ dysfunction
One of the most common causes of achy restless shoulder blades is trigger points in the rhomboid muscles. these muscles are responsible for pulling your shoulder blades back, and are often overloaded from poor shoulder posture. These muscles are very common areas to develop trigger points. Once there they will produce a persistent deep achy pain along the inside of the shoulder blade.
The trapezius muscle or traps is a large diamond shaped muscle located in your back and neck. It is responsible for both neck and shoulder movements as well as stabilizing these areas. Because of this the traps are a very common muscle to become overloaded and strained. When this happens trigger points form in the muscle and cause pain, refered pain, stiffness, and weakness. The upper portion of the muscle is the most common area in the body to develop trigger points. These points refer pain up the neck, behind the ear, and into the temple causing headaches. Trigger points in the lower parts of the muscle will cause shoulder and upper back pain. Trigger points need direct attention to be treated. Otherwise they can out live you!
TP’s were first brought to the attention of the medical world by Dr. Janet G. Travell. Dr. Travell, physician to President John F. Kennedy, is the acknowledged Mother of Myofascial Trigger Points. In fact, “Trigger Point massage, the most effective modality used by massage therapists for the relief of pain, is based almost entirely on Dr. Travell’s insights.”2 Dr. Travell’s partner in her research was Dr. David G. Simons, a research scientist and aerospace physician.
Trigger Points are very common. In fact, Travell and Simons state that TP’s are responsible for, or associated with, 75% of pain complaints or conditions.1 With this kind of prevalence, it’s no wonder that TP’s are often referred to as the “scourge of mankind”.
Trigger Points can produce a wide variety of pain complaints. Some of the most common are migraine headaches, back pain, and pain and tingling into the extremities. They are usually responsible for most cases of achy deep pain that is hard to localize.
A TP will refer pain in a predictable pattern, based on its location in a given muscle. Also, since these spots are bundles of contracted muscle fibres, they can cause stiffness and a decreased range of motion. Chronic conditions with many TP’s can also cause general fatigue and malaise, as well as muscle weakness.
Trigger points are contracted knots in muscles. They form from overload stress causing muscle fibers to become locked together in a self perpetuateing spasm. Trigger points will then produce pain, usually deep achy pain, as well as refered pain. Because of the contraction of the tissue trigger points will also produce stiffness and weakness. Trigger points are also known to mimick other symptoms such as Carple tunnel, and sciatica symptoms. Trigger points are one of, if not the most common cause of pain in the body. Regular massage therapy is not specific or deep enough to release trigger points, a specific technique of applying deep focused pressure to the heart of the knot is required for the point to release. This is called trigger point massage.
The Gluteus medius is located in your hip. It is important for hip stability, and functions to abduct the hip. When trigger points form in this muscle pain can be felt deep into the sacrum and the hip, as well as down the lateral thigh. Trigger points in this muscle are an often overlooked source of low back and sacral pain.