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In these examples, the black crosses represent the site of the triggerpoint and the red areas represent the area where you can experience pain as a result of these triggerpoints. As the practitioners know these referred pain patterns they can associate pain in one location with trigger points elsewhere. (I.e., if you have pain in your wrist, your practitioner knows that the extensor carpi radialis muscle could be responsible for that pain)
Triggerpoint treatment aims to find the cause of the pain and then release the relevant muscle knots. This can be done in many different ways.
At Physical Sense we mainly use hands on massage techniques to release the tense muscle areas.
Hands on massage techniques are the least invasive method available and is very effective.
In some cases other modalities are used
- Pulsed ultrasound
- “Spray-and-stretch” using a cooling (vapocoolant) spray followed by
- Stretching the muscle
- Other stretching techniques
All the above techniques are also used when needed at Physical Sense but especially the dry needling only with the expressed consent of the client
A successful treatment protocol relies on identifying trigger points, resolving them and, if all trigger points have been deactivated, elongating the structures affected along their natural range of motion and length.
Fascia surrounding muscles is also treated with myofascial release techniques, to elongate and resolve strain patterns, otherwise muscles will simply be returned to positions where trigger points are likely to re-develop.
The result of triggerpoint treatment
- Decrease of aches and pains
- Return to normal muscle length (this results in less stiffness in the muscle and corresponding joint areas)
- Return to normal strength (you create strength by contracting your muscle fibres, when there are triggerpoints, lots of your fibres are already contracted, so these fibres can not deliver strength)
The results of triggerpoint treatment are related to the skill level of the therapist. At Physical Sense all therapists have been specifically trained in locating and treating triggerpoints.
What is very important is that we have to find out what causes the triggerpoint and treat that as well, to avoid the triggerpoint returning.
Something has irritated the muscle. Is it your posture, or the way you use your muscles at work, or is it repetitive overload, or stress, or overstretching, cooling, injury or immobilisation due to surgery or injury? The last three are easy, because they do not repeat themselves continuously during treatment, but the first 5 examples need addressing otherwise the triggerpoints will return again, and in that case you only experience temporary relief.