What is a trigger point?


Trigger point, what is it?

This month we are defining trigger point therapy. Trigger point therapy is a bodywork technique that requires muscle manipulation in order to provide relief from pain on parts of the body. A licensed massage therapist is trained to be sensitive to what the muscle tissue of the body should feel like. A therapist uses his/her hands, fingers, elbows, knuckles and sometimes feet to “palpate” (examine by touch) the structural tissues of the body. By clearly defining the area of discomfort and pain, a therapist is able to determine the groups of muscles that may be the source of pain.

There are many different types of trigger points in the body, they can be found in muscle, ligaments, cutaneous and non- muscular tissue.  Myofascial trigger points are located in muscle, and are the most prevalent and symptomatic.

“Myofascial trigger points” are located in muscle or muscle fascia. They are described as highly irritated “knots” in the fascia generally surrounding the skeletal muscle. A trigger point is NOT a pressure point, these are two different subjects. Muscles work by receiving electrical impulses to carry out activities. When a muscle is relaxed, there shouldn’t be a part of it still receiving electrical currents. Small contractions in the fiber of the muscle tissues cause the density of a knot.

A trigger point is painful/sore  upon compression. The size of the muscle does not define the degree of severity, or the extent of pain. It is through palpation during massage that we identify the tightness of the point and are able to treat effectively.  When a therapist finds a trigger point and presses into the tissue, the pain receptors ( nociceptors) subside. This is because pressure stops the nociceptors stimulating pain. The brain can not comprehend pain through the palpation of the massage, it is a form of distraction.

Essential Oil of the Month; Lavender

Lavender field

Lavender field

Lavender is a great essential oil for de-stressing, calming your nerves, sore muscles and much more. It is used as a topical agent for skin irritations such as sun burns and bug bites. Try mixing a few drops ( I like adding clary sage for a peaceful note ) with water in a spray bottle and spritz on your pillow for restful sleep!