Elbow pain and trigger points.

Did you know that tennis elbow and golfers elbow pain can be caused by trigger points? Points located in the forearm flexor and extensor muscles can cause pain, stiffness, and weakness in the elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. Quite often these trigger point symptoms are mistaken for inflammation of the tendons which is what a true tennis/golfers elbow actually is. Failure to address the trigger points can lead to an incomplete recovery .

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Trigger point massage

Session Description

A treatment with Bryan is very user friendly. And, no, you don’t have to remove any clothing. However, bringing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts or sweats is recommended.

The first time you come for a treatment you will be asked to fill out a Client History form. Bryan will go over the information you provide, asking for more detail and discussing the type of pain you are having and its location.

The treatment itself involves locating the Trigger Points in the muscle or soft tissue and applying a deep focused pressure to the Point. This will reproduce the pain and the referral pattern that is characteristic of that pain.

The treatment will be uncomfortable at first, but as the Trigger Points release, the pain will decrease. The pressure will always be adjusted to your tolerance level. If, at any time, you feel too uncomfortable you can ask Bryan to ease off a bit.

Depending on your specific problem, Bryan may also use some stretching and / or range-of-motion techniques, as needed.

After treatment, it is usually recommended that the client apply moist heat to the area treated.

Problems associated with trigger points

Trigger Points in muscle and other soft tissue are one of the most common causes of a wide variety of pain and dysfunction, including (but not limited to):

• Achy persistent pain
• Severe local pain
• Arm / leg pain
• Back pain
• Radiating pain
• Weakness
• Stiffness

• Pain resulting from a medical condition, such as
– Migraines
– Sciatica
– TMJ dysfunctions
– Arthritis
– Fibromyalgia
– Carpal tunnel syndrome
– Soft tissue injuries
– And more…

5 Tips for Safe Leaf Raking this Fall

rake tips

It’s that time of year again. Those colorful leaves falling from the trees will soon leave you with a big mess on the lawn and a new chore to add to your to-do list. Before grabbing the rake, take these tips into consideration to avoid the soreness and injury that commonly accompany leaf raking.

1. Stretch

It may not seem like a workout, but leaf raking can be a very strenuous activity, especially if you’re not regularly active already. Be sure to do a quick warm-up to get your muscles ready and stretch to limit soreness in your neck, shoulders, and back. 

2. Use the Right Equipment

Make sure you’re using a rake that’s the correct size for your height. A rake that’s too small will cause you to bend over more often and put more stress on your back. Wear gloves to protect your palms.

3. Use Correct Posture

Keep your back straight and upright. You’ll want to bend at the knees – not the waist – when picking up your piles and always avoid twisting your torso.

4. Switch Arms Often

Avoid an overuse injury with your dominant arm by switching sides frequently. 

5. Take Breaks

Remember to give yourself a little recovery time now and then and stay hydrated. Taking frequent breaks will help you avoid exhaustion and strain.

As with any form of physical activity, listen to your body. Any sudden, sharp, or persistent pain is not normal. Stay safe by following these tips and be sure to give our office a call if you experience any neck, shoulder, or back pain this fall.

A treatment with Bryan Cobb RMT.

Session Description

A treatment with Bryan is very user friendly. And, no, you don’t have to remove any clothing. However, bringing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts or sweats is recommended.

The first time you come for a treatment you will be asked to fill out a Client History form. Bryan will go over the information you provide, asking for more detail and discussing the type of pain you are having and its location.

The treatment itself involves locating the Trigger Points in the muscle or soft tissue and applying a deep focused pressure to the Point. This will reproduce the pain and the referral pattern that is characteristic of that pain.

The treatment will be uncomfortable at first, but as the Trigger Points release, the pain will decrease. The pressure will always be adjusted to your tolerance level. If, at any time, you feel too uncomfortable you can ask Bryan to ease off a bit.

Depending on your specific problem, Bryan may also use some stretching and / or range-of-motion techniques, as needed.

After treatment, it is usually recommended that the client apply moist heat to the area treated.

 

What the Heck Is a Trigger Point?

By Bryan Cobb, Advanced Remedial Massage Therapist

What is a Trigger Point?

Trigger Points (TP’s) are defined as a “hyper-irritable spot within a taut band of skeletal muscle. The spot is painful on compression and can evoke characteristic referred pain and autonomic phenomena.”1

Put into plain language, a TP is a painful knot in muscle tissue that can refer pain to other areas of the body. You have probably felt the characteristic achy pain and stiffness that TP’s produce, at some time in your life.

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 remarkably easy to get, but the most common causes are

TP’s (black dots) can refer pain to other areas (red)

Sudden overload of a muscle

• Poor posture

• Chronic frozen posture (e.g., from a desk job),  and

• Repetitive strain

Once in place, a TP can remain there for the remainder of your life unless an intervention takes place.

Trigger Points Not Well Known

With thousands of people dealing with chronic pain, and with TP’s being responsible for — or associated with — a high percentage of chronic pain, it is very disappointing to find that a large portion of doctors and other health care practitioners don’t know about TP’s and their symptoms.

Scientific research on TP’s dates back to the 1700’s.  There are numerous medical texts and papers written on the subject.

But, it still has been largely overlooked by the health care field.  This has led to needless frustration and suffering, as well as thousands of lost work hours and a poorer quality of life.

How Are Trigger Points Treated?

As nasty and troublesome as TP’s are, the treatment for them is surely straight-forward.  A skilled practitioner will assess the individual’s pain complaint to determine the most likely location of the TP’s and then apply one of several therapeutic modalities, the most effective of which is a massage technique called “ischemic compression”.

Basically, the therapist will apply a firm, steady pressure to the TP, strong enough to reproduce the symptoms.  The pressure will remain until the tissue softens and then the pressure will increase appropriately until the next barrier is felt.  This pressure is continued until the referral pain has subsided and the TP is released. (Note:  a full release of TP’s could take several sessions.) 

Other effective modalities include dry needling (needle placed into the belly of the TP) or wet needling (injection into the TP).  The use of moist heat and stretching prove effective, as well. The best practitioners for TP release are Massage Therapists, Physiotherapists, and Athletic Therapists.  An educated individual can also apply ischemic compression to themselves, but should start out seeing one of the above therapists to become familiar with

the modality and how to apply pressure safely.

1 Simons, D.G., Travell, D.G., & Simons, L.S. Travell and Simons’ Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual.

Vol. 1.  2nd ed. Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins, 1999.

2http://www.muscletherapyworks.com/MTW%20Biography%20T%20&%20S%2001.htm 

Trigger points in the deltoid muscle

The deltoid is the main muscle that makes up the shoulder. It originates on the clavicle, acromion, and spine of the scapula. It inserts on the deltoid tuberosity of the humerus. The deltoid acts at the shoulder to produce abduction, and assist with flexion and extension. The deltoid is especially prone to developing trigger points. These posterior style will refer pain into the anterior and lateral shoulder. Trigger points in the posterior delt will refer pain into the posterior shoulder with spillover down the lateral arm.

Bryan Cobb RMT.

Since 2005, Bryan has been dedicated to helping all people with chronic and acute pain caused by soft-tissue damage.

His training and experience make him uniquely qualified to treat a wide variety of pain and dysfunction and to give instruction on prevention and self-care.

Bryan is the only Massage Therapist in Manitoba — and one of the few in Canada — to be certified by the Certification Board for Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists (CBMTPT).

Bryan holds a degree as an Advanced Remedial Massage Therapist (ARMT) from the Massage Therapy College of Manitoba.  Course work at MTCM includes
• over 2,000 hours of practice, as well as
• intensive course work,
• a supervised clinical practicum, and
• community outreach placements.

MTCM has a credit transfer affiliation with the University of Winnipeg, ensuring that its courses are held to the highest level.  When Bryan studied at MTCM, the college was the only massage therapy college in western Canada accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation.  Today, the college is a member of the Canadian Council of Massage Therapy Schools.

Bryan is a member in good standing of the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada.

Bryan also has a background in Anatomy, Exercise Physiology, and Sport Sciences from the University of Manitoba, and he has worked as a personal trainer and fitness leader.

He is an avid natural bodybuilder and fitness enthusiast, and has a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.