What are trigger points? They are points on your body that, basically, hurt when you touch them. You may not have known these points were causing you pain until you touch them or maybe you feel them rubbing against your very bones. These points can cause pain that travels away from the point, such as trigger point your trapezus that travels up the neck and causes headaches.
You can get these points by stress, overuse of the muscle, injury, improper lifting, and actually most daily activities if over done. There are two types of these trigger points, which are called active and latent. Active are the ones you come into the spa for, feeling the pain travel through out your muscles. The latent ones are the triggers we discover when we get the massage going, hiding away. Sometimes these points can make you think the pain is in your arm, and the trigger point is in your back near the arm pit.
What can you do to help relieve yourself of this trigger points? First is to make sure you do your exercise and stretching. This can help relieve muscle tension. Next is to make sure you don’t get too stressed throughout, practicing mindfulness and meditation. You also need to take care of yourself with massage before it all gets to bad. Having someone else access those triggers points, run along the muscle to the insertions and origins is extremely beneficial.
Why massage for trigger points? Because a massage therapist can help follow along the trail of referred pain to different sources of tension. We always try to look opposite of the pain area to see if there is anything that else that could be causing pain. Having knowledge of muscles and how they work is where we bring the extra for your massage!
Trigger point work is not always relaxing. If the points are already tender and painful working on them can be a little intense. Your therapist will communicate with you on pain levels, comfort, and where any new pain might be traveling too. You can do some trigger point work in a relaxing swedish massage, but there is still a difference between the two.
So don’t let your knots and points get to out of hand, and remember to schedule your massage to help your entire body health. If you start a pattern of healing now you can get your body back into working order.
Stephanie Friedersdorff, LMT (College Station, TX)
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