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Trigger Point Therapy: What You Should Expect
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Trigger Point Therapy: What You Should Expect

Massage therapy as an antidote for wellness has been utilised for thousands and thousands of years. Even the introduction of other ways to keep the body pain free, massage therapy is still being utilised on a regular basis.

Apart from being able to provide wellness for the body and soul, massage therapy still maintains relevance for another reason. There are about 80 massage types to choose from and you’ll almost always get a massage type to fit your treatment profile.

The variations of these massage types are found in pressure applied, movements done and overall technique used.

Out of all the attractive body relaxing massage types available, this article attempts to review a quite interesting one – trigger point therapy. In this article, we would be discussing what trigger point therapy is and what to expect when undergoing trigger point therapy.

What is trigger point therapy?

To properly understand what trigger point therapy entails, we must first understand what a trigger point is.

A trigger point is a part of the body which when stimulated or irritated, generates a response in other body parts. These pressure points are usually seen as tender areas in muscles which become harder than usual. As pains develop in those areas, they spread to areas around the muscle.

As we take a few steps down memory lane, the words “trigger point” has been around for a while. Around the 1940’s to be exact. Dr. Janet Travell coined those words. She was particularly popular for being the first ever female physician to the US President.

A common factor is particularly noticed in most trigger point pains and this factor is trauma. This trauma could be as a result of poor posture, poor sleep, poor nutrition amongst several others.

From the definition above, we can say trigger point therapy is a manual therapy that is aimed at working out and relieving trigger points. The aim of this therapy is to alleviate the pressure from these trigger points to give a feeling of calm and relaxation throughout muscle fibres.

In trigger point therapy, finding the trigger points is virtually as important as the massage itself. The correct pressure must be applied on the correct position to give the best result.

What to expect in a trigger point therapy session

There are different approaches to treating trigger points from massage therapies, application of ice or heat, dry needling amongst others. Below, we describe the series or phases you may have to go through in a massage treatment for a trigger point.

Just like sports massage or many other therapies, the first aspect of a therapy session is assessment and discussion. Assessment is important as it ensures that the therapist is aware of the trigger points, holds discussion with you and understands the techniques that are needed.

You may be made to lie on a platform or sit upright. The assumed position depends on what you’re comfortable with and where the trigger points are located.

After assessing the location of the trigger points, gentle pressure is applied in those points so that they relax gently. The massage is usually a gentle one and its duration depends on the severity of the trigger points. Massaging could last anything from 10 to 60 seconds.

Trigger point therapy body diagram
Trigger point therapy body diagram (Source)

During the massage session, the massage therapist could choose to keep you active. Their attempt to keep you active could involve telling you about the muscles he is palpating. It could also involve asking you about how you’re feeling during the session.

You may experience little nibbles and spasms during the massage session. This is completely normal as pressure is applied to particularly painful trigger points. You don’t have to worry about these pains going out of hand.

The therapist is properly educated on how to regulate the amount of pressure being applied.

The amount of massage sessions to be attended for complete relief depends on the severity of pains. If the pains are mere nibbles, only a few sessions should do. If the pains are quite severe a series of massage therapies spread out over time may be necessary.

Also, the techniques used during the massage session varies with the massage therapist performing the therapy.

Some therapists take a more subtle approach to the procedure. They first work their way around the regions surrounding the trigger points before focussing on the trigger points.

Others may take a more direct approach i.e focusing on the trigger points directly.

After the massage session, you’ll notice improved flexibility, improved posture and above all, you’ll certainly be more relaxed.

What do we think about trigger point therapy

Here are some thoughts on massage treatment of trigger points;

Massaging as a treatment of trigger points is not a magical approach and it may not alleviate trigger points in a single go. You may have to schedule several visits to deal with these pains.

It is not the only method for treating trigger points, other treatment methods could be applied. Amongst these different types, massaging is about the safest method.

Trigger points don’t magically show themselves however they take a lot of feeling to be found. Also, not all bumps or knots on the body are trigger points.

Finally, massaging in treating trigger points could be done in conjunction with other types of massage and treatment options. These variations depend on severity of pains.

In conclusion

In this article, we have made attempts to understand what trigger point therapy is by digging a little history and saying a little on what trigger points are.

We have also discussed what a trigger point therapy session would feel like and how you’d feel when the therapy is complete.

All in all, trigger point therapy not only helps relax trigger points however also relaxes other muscles as well. If done with humility and accuracy by the therapist, you can definitely be sure of properly comfortable and relaxing results.