Trigger Points Are They In You?Print
Debilitating Little Buggers
Trigger Points weaken muscles, reduce range of motion, and drain endurance. While you may not have heard of them, you’ve experienced them. Everyone who’s had muscle pain and stiffness has experienced Trigger Points. They are the tender spots or knots that grow in your muscles. They’ve been written about in thousands of articles in medical journals and authoritatively described in The Trigger Point Manual 2nd ed., by David G. Simons, M.D., Janet G. Travell, M.D., and Lois S. Simons, P.T.
You’ve seen the long-term effects of untreated Trigger Points in the elderly, their bodies twisted and reactions slowed. Gradually, over many years, knotted muscle fibers reduce people’s range of motion and sap their strength until they have trouble getting out of a chair. Decrepitude is thought of as part of the normal aging process. When caused by Trigger Points, which it usually is, it’s preventable. Trigger Points are the most easily treatable significant muscle problem that you’re certain to face.
"Trigger Points are the most easily treatable significant muscle problem that you’re certain to face."
Medical doctors believe Trigger Points form naturally as a result of muscle abuse. Over and under use of muscles causes the ultra thin fibers that make-up muscles to tangle into the tiny knots that are Trigger Points. The knots cause muscles to shorten and tense. Trigger Points are of two types: latent and active. Both cause all the muscle dysfunctions described above but only active Trigger Points spontaneously emit pain. Active triggers are relatively rare but everyone suffers latent ones. While Trigger Points appear naturally, they also disappear naturally when your muscles are stretched.
Here’s the rule: elongating muscles removes Trigger Points. Gentle natural stretching that’s part of normal daily activities eliminates most small triggers. Yoga, Pilates, and fitness classes resolve many of the more stubborn ones. Unfortunately, the toughest Trigger Points persist and require a more precise controlled stretch that comes from pressing directly on the muscle. This form of massage, known as trigger point therapy, elongates the muscle and removes the knot.
Do it Yourself Trigger Point Massage
The good news is that trigger point therapy is easy to do. With a Little?le knowledge and the right massage tool you can restore muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance to your own body. You can remove all your latent Trigger Points simply by pressing them. Ninety-percent of trigger point therapy is just pressing muscle tissue. You can tell you’ve hit one when the spot you’ve compressed is exquisitely tender. Stay with it for about five breaths or until the pain subsides.
Yes, Trigger Points are in you. If you want to improve muscle performance and avoid the physical frailty of old-age, you have to get them out and keep ge?getting them out. Fortunately, it’s easy. Just press them and they’re gone. Doing so, improves the way you look, feel, and perform.
In Good Health,
Self Massage for Athletes
Rich Poley JD, MS is author of Self-Massage for Athletes, leads self-massage workshops, trains and practices law in Boulder, Colorado. Visit www.SelfMassageForAthletes.com.
© 2007 Rich Poley. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with Permission