Trigger Point Therapy
Either when the muscles themselves become injured, or when the nearby nerves and other structures become injured, the muscles may suddenly go into spasm as a reflexive mechanism to prevent against further injury. The bones and other structures of the musculoskeletal system may become injured when they are strained, overstretched, or torn due to trauma or injury. The nerves branches of the peripheral nervous system are able to reach nearly every tissue in the body as a result of their extensive network. These nerves often connect from the tissues that are injured, and to the nearby muscles in that region of the body that are associated with them. When certain bones and associated soft tissues are injured, the nerves send a distress signal to the nearby muscles of the injury. The muscle may then respond by tensing up, possible increasing tension in the muscle or causing the muscle to spasm. A muscle spasm is a continuous contraction of the muscle. Muscle spasms may be very painful and result in significant limitation of the body part that muscle lies in. It would seem unusual that the body would do something to us that was so painful and disabling, but think of it as a natural body splint. What happens when you dislocate a joint or break a bone. Your doctors will then fix the dislocation of the joint or fix the bone break, before putting that body part in splint, sling, or cast. The doctor does that under the theory that immobilizing that damaged structure will prevent it from sustaining further injury while it is healing. The same concept works with muscle tension and muscle spasms.
Often following an injury, the muscle tension or spasm will relieve itself once the original injury has healed. But in some cases, tension may remain in certain points of the muscle and the myofascia, which is the connective tissue coverings of the muscle. These areas of tightness are known as trigger points. You may or may not be aware that trigger points are the cause of your pain, because they often encompass a very small region of the muscle. The trigger points in the muscle may not feel painful until they are located and pressed on. In some cases, the trigger points in the muscle may remain long after the original injury have healed, causing muscle pain or back pain. In these cases ,trigger point therapy may be beneficial.
Trigger Point Therapy: Trigger point therapy is also known as neuromuscular therapy or trigger point myotherapy. Experts from diverse healthcare professions may be trained on finding these knots of tightness and myofascia and releasing the pressure there. Acupuncturists, osteopaths, chiropractors, and massage therapists all have their own specific techniques or technology to treat this problem.
Pressure is applied to these concentrated areas of tightness using fingers, knuckles, or elbows. A treatment session will involve 10-30 second intervals of pressure being applied to the trigger points. These applications of pressure, using various techniques, relaxes the concentrated areas of tightness. The treatment also increases the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to that area of the muscle, and throughout the entire muscle. The treatment also releases stores of lactic acid and toxins that have built up due to the lack of circulation.
The treatment may cause increased muscle soreness during the treatment session and just afterwards. But this initial period of increased pain and discomfort will be followed by an improvement in pain and comfort levels.