Numerous Americans endure chronic muscle pain, while others suffer the occasional bout of stiffness or discomfort. Not only is this condition curable, but you aren’t restricted to opioids or other pharmaceutical treatments. Physical therapists incorporate pain management strategies like trigger point massages in their treatment routines because they successfully provide patients with pain relief.
Curious if massage therapy is the right solution for your chronic pain? Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of trigger point massages.
What are Trigger Points?
We understandably don’t spend much time thinking about our muscles—unless they’re causing us pain. “Trigger points” are small, painful soft tissue knots that form in muscles due to overuse, lack of use, or physical trauma.
There are two types of trigger points:
Active trigger points: Active trigger points cause pain at all times—even when you’re not using the affected muscle.
Latent Trigger Points: In contrast, latent trigger points only hurt when you use them.
Trigger points don’t necessarily limit their damage to the knotted muscle—the trigger point might irritate the surrounding nerves, causing pain radiating to other body parts. For example, if you have a trigger point in your upper back, it may cause neck pain. Trigger points might even be responsible for chronic headaches.
Trigger points develop all over your body’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments but are most common and most debilitating in your neck and back. They cause sharp pain and persistent soreness or throbbing sensation that might occur on and off or linger indefinitely. Even if the trigger points don’t cause constant pain, that doesn’t mean they’ve gone away on their own—it takes a trained trigger point massager to provide a permanent solution.
What is Trigger Point Therapy?
Trigger point massages are a safe, effective, and non-invasive muscle pain treatment strategy. Licensed massage therapists or physical therapists massage trigger points to relieve tightness and tension by detecting the afflicted tissue and massaging either by hand or with tools. The most common method of trigger point therapy is pressure point massaging: This consists of applying direct pressure to specific parts of the body, using hands or elbows to manipulate the knotted tissue.
Another common form of trigger point therapy is dry needling: It involves inserting needles into the trigger points, which releases muscle tension and relieves pain. Specifically, the needles trigger an involuntary muscle response that causes the muscle tissue to contract.
What are the Benefits of Trigger Point Therapy?
These are some of the benefits that you’ll get when you regularly avail of trigger point therapy:
Pain Reduction: Trigger point therapy’s most apparent benefit is alleviating muscle pain. Not only are trigger point massages an effective treatment plan, but they also allow you to forgo pain medication and avoid expensive and potentially risky surgical interventions.
Fewer Headaches: You might be surprised to learn that frequent headaches result from muscular pain. Trigger points in neck and upper back areas often cause headaches due to muscle tension, so trigger point therapy might be a more effective solution to your headaches than a dose of aspirin.
Improved Posture: Knotted muscles in your back, neck, and shoulders may cause you to slouch, leading to noticeably poorer posture. Trigger point pressure release from massages won’t just end your muscle pain but will also help you get your posture back to normal.
Greater Flexibility and Range of Motion: No amount of yoga and Pilates can boost your flexibility if your muscles are stiff and painful. Trigger point massage therapy stretches out tight muscles, making it easier for you to accomplish daily physical tasks, achieve your fitness goals, and improve athletic performance.
Massage therapy is the perfect calling for someone who wants to help others overcome pain and improve their quality of life. The Hollywood Institute offers one of the most approachable yet comprehensive massage therapy programs: Contact us today to learn more about course details and career outcomes.