A trigger point (also called a muscle knot) is defined as a tight, very tender area within the muscle tissue that causes shooting pain and discomfort in other parts of the body. For example, a trigger point in the back may cause referred pain to the neck, which in turn may cause referred pain in the head. Trigger point pain is considered one of the most common ailments that affect the muscles in the body, and can also be one of the most painful due to the spread out nature of the ache.
Trigger point massage therapy is focused on relieving this pain from the source through cycles of pressure and release and deep breathing. The tight, constricted areas of muscle are relieved and the pain decreased – even just one session of trigger point therapy can significantly decrease pain.
The treatment depends on where the trigger point is located, which is usually the shoulders, back, or hips. Trigger point massage therapy is often uncomfortable, as these areas are extremely tender and require direct pressure to loosen the muscles. However, the short-term discomfort is worth the long-term benefits of trigger point therapy, as untreated trigger points can cause increased, spreading pain and problems with balance and posture. Depending on the size of the trigger point(s), multiple sessions may be required to locate/deactivate all points.
After a trigger point has been taken care of, it is crucial that patients remain properly hydrated. When a trigger point is broken up, the toxins from that point are released into the blood stream. Proper hydration will help flush the toxins out faster and keep the client from getting sick. An Epsom salt bath may also be beneficial to help release the toxins and soothe any soreness.
Trigger point therapy massage on a regular basis can be an effective way to manage pain and stress from daily life or chronic illness.