Trigger Point Myotherapy
Trigger Point Myotherapy, also known as Neuromuscular Massage Therapy, is a lower back pain treatment in which the therapist breaks up muscle spasms by applying alternating levels of concentrated pressure. Due to muscle strain or inflammation near the muscle, the muscle may undergo a prolonged period of contraction -which is known as a muscle spasm.
While the muscles are in spasm, this tightness cuts off circulation to the blood vessels that were feeding it with oxygen and nutrients. The oxygen is one of the important components in the process where the muscle tissues make ATP - which powers the muscles and keep them healthy. As the muscles become deprived of their primary source of energy, it reverts to its secondary source - lactic acid. The process of lactic acid production happens in all people at some point or another, due to intense physical exertion that occurs when we run or play sports, and the muscles run out of oxygen.
The lactic acid production created by the muscle tension makes it feel sore, painful, and fatigued. These painful symptoms are exacerbated as the continued lack of proper circulation in the muscle continues as the blood vessels are unable to clear these toxic chemicals from the muscle tissues.
Trigger point therapy may makes us feel better for a couple of reasons. First, they increase circulation of the muscle tissues. This brings more oxygen and nutrients to the injured muscle cells, which increases the rate of healing. Also, this increased circulation will help to clear out lactic acid and other toxic chemicals created as a result of the inflammation around the muscles. This therapy will also increase the patient's range of motion by relaxing the muscles. Massage therapy may also change our experience to pain as a result of an increase in endorphin levels. Endorphins are neurotransmitters which may block pain signals from reaching our brain, thereby inhibiting our experience of discomfort. Endorphins are the brain chemicals responsible for our experience of "runners high" or the euphoria we experience to narcotic pain killers. But trigger point therapy is one treatment that offers a natural pain relief experience without any nasty side effects related to artificial chemicals having to pollute our bodies.
The only slight negative related to this type of massage therapy is the initial pain that occurs during and after the first treatment session. Many patients who seek out this type of treatment have experienced severe muscle pain or chronic pain that has lingered for far too long. To treat this neuromuscular problem, the massage therapist will apply continuous pressure to the tense areas of the muscles, for sustained periods of time (10-30 seconds). These applications of pressure will be varied in their pressure levels. For certain pressure intensities, therapists may use their wrists, knuckles, elbows, or even feet to reach the deepest soft tissues. The initial pain that is felt at the beginning of the first session should alleviate as ischemia of the muscle is eliminated and the muscle gets closer to its normal functioning. Most people describe the massage pressure and slight discomfort as a "good pain."
These treatments will be an interactive process between the therapist and the patient. The therapist will apply the different pressure levels while the patients report how it makes them feel. The patient will tell them if the pressure is too little, too much, or is making them feel better. A good therapist will be receptive to feedback from his or her patient.
What to expect from trigger point therapy: Patients should expect significant relief as a result from these treatments within a period of 4-14 days. Within this time span, patients may have up to 4 treatment sessions to increase their recovery rates. Patients may experience an increase in soreness during and after each treatment session, but this discomfort should fade within 24-36 hours.
This type of massage therapy may be beneficial for full muscle spasms and muscular conditions in which there are concentrated areas of tightness in the muscle - known as trigger points. Various healthcare experts are often divided on what a trigger point really is, though I will try to offer my own description as best I can. Trigger points are small areas within the muscle that have become very dense and painful to the touch. These points are sometimes referred to as knots in the muscle.