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Online Webinar: Understanding Trigger Points with Valerie DeLaune, L.Ac. on July 10, 2012

By Pressure Positive September 17, 2014 No comments








Join this Webinar on July 10
About 75% of the time, pain is caused by trigger points. Pain syndromes cannot be treated effectively without identifying and treating trigger points, since about 74% of trigger points are remote to where your patient feels symptoms. Trigger points usually refer pain in fairly consistent patterns, and you can use “pain guides” to figure out which muscles may potentially harbor trigger points causing pain and other symptoms.Trigger points are caused and perpetuated by poor ergonomics, injuries, structural problems, and several medical conditions. Resolution of these perpetuating factors is crucial to relieving trigger points. Tips will be given for incorporating trigger point treatments into existing practices.
Title: Understanding Trigger Points
Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM CDT
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Valerie Delaune, LAc. Speaking Tour 2012

By Pressure Positive September 17, 2014 No comments

Trigger Point Author and Instructor to Speak at Conferences,
West Coast Seminar Tour Fall 2012


(Anchorage, AK)  April 4, 2012:          Author and continuing education instructor Valerie DeLaune will be presenting on trigger points at three conferences in 2012.


According to DeLaune, “Around 75% of pain is caused by trigger points; yet in spite of decades of research, it is one of the most under-diagnosed conditions in medicine.  I’d like to change that by heightening awareness through magazine articles, books, and courses for health care professionals.”  She will be speaking at the American Massage Therapy Association Washington Convention in Tacoma in April, the World Massage Conference in June (a web-based conference), and the Northwest Symposium in Portland, Oregon, also in June.


Trigger points are hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscles that feel like “knots” or tight bands.  About 74% of the time, trigger points “refer” pain to a different area -- they are not located within the area in which a patient is actually feeling symptoms, so treating the area of pain does not afford relief. For example, if someone has pain in their hand and fingers, it is probably being referred from trigger points in muscles in their neck, shoulder area, or forearm.  Pain and other symptoms can be relieved if the trigger point is treated with pressure or other techniques.


DeLaune says “People live with a lot more pain than they need to. There really is a lot they can do to help themselves, and become informed about their options for treatments.  The earlier the intervention in a painful condition, the more likely the degree and duration of pain can be reduced or eliminated.”


DeLaune will also be touring West Coast States Fall 2012 teaching seminars for health care professionals in Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah.


You can find out more information about DeLaune’s books, speaking engagements, and seminars for health care professionals at



Mechanical Stresses

By Valerie DeLaune September 17, 2014 No comments

Chronic mechanical stresses are one of the most common causes of trigger point activation and perpetuation, and are nearly always correctable.

A skeletal asymmetry, including a shorter leg and a small hemipelvis (the part of the pelvis you sit on) can be corrected with shoe lifts and butt lifts. In this book-on-CD, reference to a shorter leg refers to a true leg length inequality where the bones are shorter on one side, rather than the "shorter leg" caused by a spinal mis-alignment, which is a term chiropractors use. A skeletal disproportion, such as a long second toe can be corrected with shoe orthotics, and short upper arms can be corrected with ergonomically correct furniture. Vertebral subluxation and other bones-out-alignment can be adjusted by a chiropractor or osteopathic physician, especially if the muscles are also first relaxed by an acupuncturist or massage therapist.

Mis-fitting furniture is a major cause of muscular pain, particularly in the work place. There are companies that specialize in coming into your work place and correcting your office arrangement, and fitting you for furniture that fits your body. Your employer may balk at the cost, but if they don't change your mis-fitting furniture, they will end up paying for it in lost work time and worker's compensation claims.

I see a lot of what I call "mouse injuries" -- arm and shoulder pain due to using a computer mouse for extended periods of time without proper arm support. The keyboard should be kept as close to lap level as possible. When not using your computer, your elbows and forearms should rest evenly on either your work surface or armrests of the proper height. Your computer screen should be directly in front of you, and the copy attached to the side of the screen, so that you may look directly forward as much as possible. Your knees should fit under your desk, and the chair needs to be close enough that you can lean against your backrest. A good chair will have a backrest with a slope of 25 to 30-degrees back from the vertical which supports both the lumbar area and the mid-back. The seat should be low enough that your feet rest flat on the floor without compression of the thigh by the front edge of the seat, high enough that not all the pressure is put on the buttocks, and slightly hollowed out to accommodate the buttocks. The armrests must be high enough to provide support for the elbows without having to lean to the side, but not so high as to cause the shoulders to hike up. The upholstery needs to be firm and casters should be avoided. I highly recommend headsets for phones to solve neck and back pain.

A lumbar support helps correct round-shouldered posture. It seems, oddly enough, that most car seats actually curve the wrong way in the lumbar area. Most chiropractic offices carry lumbar supports of varying thickness. I recommend getting one for the car and your favorite seat at home, and investing in a good chair for the office, even if your employer won't. Try to avoid sitting in or on anything without back support, which causes you to sit with your shoulders and upper back slumped forward. When going to sporting events, picnics, or other places you won't have a back support, bring a Crazy Creek Chair™ (or something similar) to provide at least some support. You can get one through most of the major sporting goods suppliers, and they cost about $33, a good investment in your back, and they are very lightweight for carrying. Or consider a lightweight collapsible chair, also available at sporting goods stores. Sleeping in a sagging bed can cause back and hip problems. (See the section on Sleep Problems). But properly fitting furniture won't help as much if you are not also conscientious of avoiding poor posture.

If you slouch at your desk or on your couch at home, or read in bed, for example, your muscles will suffer. Abuse of muscles includes poor body mechanics (i.e., lifting improperly), long periods of immobility (i.e., sitting at a desk without a break), repetitive movements (i.e., computer use), holding your body in an awkward position for long periods (i.e., dentists and mechanics), and excessively quick and jerky movements (i.e., sports). Learn to lift properly and take frequent breaks from anything you must do for long time periods .

Be sure to sit while putting clothing on your lower body. Don't wear high heels or cowboy boots. If you have a habit of immobilizing your muscles to protect against pain, you will need to start gently increasing your range of motion as you inactivate trigger points. Don't keep stressing the muscles to see if it still hurts or to demonstrate to your treating professionals where you have to move it to in order to get it to hurt -- if you keep repeating this motion, you will just keep the trigger points activated. If you carry a purse, get a strap long enough that you can wear it diagonally across your body, rather than over one shoulder. If you use a day pack, put the straps over both shoulders. Without realizing it, you are hiking up one shoulder at least a little to keep the straps from slipping off no matter how light your purse or pack may be. Notice whether you hold your shoulders up or are tightening muscles such as your butt, arms, or abdomen when you are under stress. You will need to re-train yourself to break this habit.

If you are clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth, see a Dentist for help. The soft plastic bite splints found over-the-counter in pharmacies are too soft and do not help temporomandibular joint dysfunction. You need to be fitted by your dentist for a hard, slippery acrylic night guard.

Constricting clothing can lead to muscular problems. My rule of thumb is, if the clothing item leaves an elastic mark or indentation in the skin, it is too tight and is cutting off proper circulation. Check your bras, socks, ties, and belts to see if they are too tight.


Valerie DeLaune, LAc. is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Diplomate in Acupuncture, Master of Acupuncture, Certified Neuromuscular Massage Therapist and Certified Massage Therapist in Ancorage, Alaska. Valerie says, "My intention is to aid patients in their self-healing. I assist patients by teaching them self-help techniques that will empower them to make positive changes in their lives and their health." Visit her website at

Note: Only one of article section has been included in this excerpt. The full text can be obtained by visiting (

Educational Spotlight on Valerie DeLaune, L.Ac.

By Pressure Positive September 16, 2014 No comments

We have focused the educational spotlight on Valerie Delaune in previous newsletters and blog posts. She continues to be a standout author in the field of Trigger Point Therapy and self help with the recent publication of "Trigger Point Therapy for Foot, Ankle, Knee and Leg Pain: A Self-Treatment Workbook" by New Harbinger Publications and the as yet to be released in the U.S.,  "Pain Relief with Trigger Point Self Help" by Lotus Publishing. Another of her self help workbooks from New Harbinger Publications, "Trigger Point Therapy for Repetitive Strain Injury", is slated for a 2012 debut.

Valerie DeLaune is a licensed acupuncturist and certified neuromuscular therapist, with a Master’s Degree in Acupuncture from the Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and a B.S. from the University of Washington, and certificates from Heartwood Institute and Brenneke School of Massage. Valerie got her Swedish massage training in 1989, and her first trigger point training in 1990. After that, she used Doctors Travel and Simons' texts to learn a great deal more about trigger points. All of her years of clinical experience are also included in her books.

In addition to her self help books, Valerie has developed a series of Trigger Point Distance Learning / Home Study Modules and Seminars. All providers are welcome to take the courses, as the information can be applied to a variety of treatment modalities. Her seminars may include dry needling instruction for those practitioners who can needle within the scope of their practice, such as acupuncturists and PT's in some States. One of her graduates has the following to say about her learning experience with Valerie:


"I learned so much from Valerie's trigger point course. I've had many questions about trigger points and she has answered them all. She personally followed up with me about any of my questions that weren't answered in her course material. Thanks to this course, I have a much greater understanding of trigger points and what causes them; thanks to her interactive CD, I have the tools to find out more as questions arise. I've previously avoided mail-in courses, thinking that the only and best way for me to learn was with hands-on training. I was surprised and impressed with how much I learned from this course and will continue to participate in Valerie's online/mail-in courses as a way to improve my knowledge base and my work. Thank you.
--Evelyn Bass, LMT, Massage Therapist and Manager at Southeast Medical Clinic in Juneau, AK


Catch one of the following upcoming seminars in Valerie's home state of Alaska in September:


Trigger Points: Critical Thinking, September 17-18, 2011, Anchorage, AK, Career Academy, 8:30AM-5:30PM, 16 CEU's, $350


Introduction to Trigger Points Lecture, September 9th, 2011, Anchorage, AK, Career Academy, 6:00PM-8:00PM, 2 CEU's, $30



Valerie is available teach a trigger point seminar at your school or a self help workshop in your area. If you would like to sponsor either a trigger point seminar for professionals, or a trigger point self-help workshop, please contact, or (907) 435-7060.

Chronic headaches, TMJ, may find source in trigger points: Self-help available - Detroit Holistic Health |

By Saundra Bubniak September 15, 2014 No comments

Muscle is the largest organ in the human body. It typicallly accounts for almost 50% of the body's weight. There are approximately four hundred muscles in the human body and any one of them can develop trigger points, potentially causing referred pain and dysfunction. Symptoms can range from intolerable, agonizing pain to painless restriction of movement and distortion of posture. Muscles consist of many muscle cells, or fibers, bundled together and surrounded by conective tissue. Each fiber contains numerous myofibrils. Most skeletal muscles contain approximately one thousand to two thousand myofibrils, and each myofibril consists of a chain of sarcomeres connected end-to-end. Muscular contractions take place in the sarcomere. When a trigger point is present, numerous sarcomeres are contracted into a small thickened area and the rest of the sarcomeres in the myofibril are stretched thin. Several of these contractures in the same area are probably what we feel as a "knot" or "tight band" in the muscle. These muscle fibers are not available for use because they are already contracted, which is why you cannot condition or strengthen a muscle that contains trigger points.

When pressed, trigger points are usually very tender. The sustained contraction of the fibril probably leads to the release of sensitizing neurochemicals which are body substances that affect the nervous system. This produces the pain that is felt when the trigger point is pressed. Pain intensity levels can vary depending on the amount of stress placed on the muscles. The intensity of pain can also vary in response to flare-ups of any of the other perpetuating factors, such as emotional factors, illnesses, and insomnia. Healthy muscles usually do not contain knots or tight bands, are not tender to pressure, and, when not in use, feel soft and pliable to the touch, not like the hard and dense muscles found in people with chronic pain.

Trigger points may refer pain both in the local area and/or other areas of the body. Approximately half the time, trigger points are not located in the same place where you feel symptoms. This means that if you work on the areas where you feel pain, you probably will not get relief. Unless you know what location to search in for the trigger points causing your pain, you probably will not get relief. For instance, trigger points in the upper portion of the trapezious muscle which is between the neck and the shoulder, can cause headache pain in the temples, the base of the skull, in the angle of the jaw, and possibly above the ear and over the eye. Referred tingling, numbness, or burning sensations are more likely due to trigger poiints constricting around or putting pressure on a nerve. For example, the sciatic nerve runs either under or through the piriformis muscle in the gluteal area, and trigger points in the piriformis muscle can compress the sciatic nerve, causing a pseudosciatic pain that mimics true sciatica (Travell and Simons, 1983).

Muscles containing trigger points are fatigued more easily and do not return to a relaxed state as quickly when use of the muscle ceases. In addition, trigger points may cause other muscles to tighten and become weak and fatigued in the areas where you experience the referred pain, and also cause a generalized tightening of an area as a response to pain. Trigger points tend to form where the nerve ending that causes the muscle to contract attaches to the muscle fiber, generally in the middle of the muscle fiber. Trigger points also tend to form at the muscle's attachments. When people first develop some kind of pain problem, they usually wait to see if it will go away. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it does not. The problem with "waiting to see" is that when trigger points are left untreated, muscles can be damaged, and eventually changes to the central nervous system can lead to a vicious cycle of pain. This central nervous system invvolvement probably explains why some experience chronic headache and pain.

Something starts to hurt, so you tense the area up. Then it hurts more, so the muscle tightens up more, perpetuating and esclating the cycle of pain. Any intervention that helps treat trigger points and eliminate perpetuating factors can help break the cycle. This could include trigger point self-treatment, stretching, heat and/or ice, chiropractic or osteopathic treatments, massage, ultrasound, homeopathy, biofeedback, trigger point injections, counseling, and even analgesics. Massage and self-treatment of trigger points will allow muscle cells to start uptaking oxygen and nutrients and eliminating metabolic wastes again, the proper cell metabolism process. Also, by pressing on the trigger points and making it hurt a little bit more than it is already hurting, it causes your body to release pain-masking chemicals such as endorphins, thereby breaking the pain cycle.

Valerie DeLaume, L.Ac., a licensed acupuncturist and certified neuromuscular therapist, reports that it is her experience that people who do self-treatments at home in addition to receiving weekly professional treatments improve at least five times faster than those who only receive professional treatments. After the second or third treatment, based on the person's medical condition, how their muscles feel to her, their dilegence about self-treatment and working on perpetuating factors, and how much they have improved, she can usually give them a pretty good idea of how many treatments they may need. Ask the practitioner after the first few weeks how long and how often she wishes to see you. Some of the most complex cases will get worse before they get better. Often progress is evident first on the mobility level.

If one is unable to receive relief from self-help techniques, it may be that something other than trigger points is causing or contributing to your headaches or TMJ pain and you should see a doctor for X-rays and other diagnostic tests. Referred symptoms due to trigger points can mimic other, more serious conditions or occur concurrently with them. See a doctor immediately to rule out serious conditions if you have pain in your head with any of the following symptoms:

-Your pain has a sudden onset or starts after a head injury.

-Your pain lasts for more than a few days.

-The intensity of pain is greater than your previous headaches, or the symptoms are different. Changes can be an indication of a different, more serious cause.

-Your headaches start after the age fifty.

-Your headaches are accompanied by a stiff neck, fever, seizures, convulsions, blurred vision or other vision changes, eye pain, ear pain, dizziness, mental confusion, disorientation, lack or alertness, speech difficulties, drowsiness, or muscle numbness, tingling, or weakness.

-Your headaches are triggered by coughing, bending, or lying down.

-Your headaches cause severe nausea or vomiting.

Hopefully you doctor will rule out any serious conditions. If you have a diagnosis of headache, migraine, or TMJ pain, chances are you can relieve much or all of your pain with a combination of self-treatment of trigger points and treating and eliminating perpetuating factors. Regardless of the diagnosis from the medical doctor or dentist, you will always do well to identify and eliminate all the underlying causes to the extent possible, and treat the trigger points.

Some massage therapists are trained in trigger point therapy. Acupuncturists may also be. If you are already receiving treatment from one of these ask them about it, or see if they can give you a reference.

Valerie DeLaune has a master's degree in acupuncture from the Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and holds professional certificates from the Heartwood Institute and the Brenneke School of Massage. She has authored books and articles on trigger points and acupuncture topics and although she is currently living in Juneau, AK, she may be reached for more information at

Her recent book "Trigger Point Therapy for Headaches and Migraines: Your self-treatment workbook for pain relief" was published in 2008 by New Harbinger Publications, Inc.. It is recommended as a comprehensive resource for understanding the cause, location, self-treatment, and has suggestions for the elimination of perpetuating factors, regarding trigger points in the relation to different kinds of headaches, TMJ pain, facial and neck pain, and limited range of motion in the neck and jaw. The workbook is complete with useful photographs and understandable language.