Trigger point therapy can be an effective method of pain relief, especially when other treatments have failed or stopped short.
Trigger points are hypersensitive nodules of muscular tissue that often refer pain to other areas of the body. For instance, trigger points in the glutes can refer pain down the back and side of the leg, mimicking sciatica. Trigger points in the neck and shoulders can create chronic headaches or pain patterns down the arms.
Trigger point therapy is part of our “clinical” massage therapy sessions. Not only do we work with you to locate and treat trigger points, but we also perform a thorough assessment to determine why you might have trigger points in the first place. (Trigger points are often the result of a muscular imbalance, repetitive motion strain, or a previous injury.) We can then provide a more comprehensive treatment plan to keep trigger points from returning.
During trigger point therapy, a massage therapist uses concentrated, rhythmic pressure directly on a trigger point using a tool, hand, thumb or elbow. It is believed that the alternating pressure encourages rushes of blood flow that helps muscle fibers relax and purge waste products. Gentle stretches and deep but broad effleurage can also help alleviate the spasms and re-train the muscle to move in a more healthy way.
Trigger point therapy may be helpful for people who experience chronic or recurring pain, numbness, or tingling.
Deep tissue massage often accompanies trigger point therapy and some of the techniques can be similar. For instance, deep tissue massage techniques may be used to warm up the muscle tissue and access trigger points that are difficult to reach.
Recommended session time varies based on your body and overall goals. 60 minutes can be enough time if your areas of pain are limited to your upper body or lower legs. For larger body types and trigger point therapy involving the low back and hips, we recommend 90 minutes. You may also want to allow more time for an initial appointment as a portion of the session will be devoted to assessment.