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What exactly are Trigger points?

What is a trigger point and how does this affect me, you may ask?

Do you suffer from neck pain? Or have you experienced pain that no amount of stretching seems to help? Well, this may be due to a few nasty trigger points.

What is a trigger point

A trigger point occurs when continuous contraction in the muscle causes an interruption to blood flow, oxygen supply and elimination of toxins from the muscle tissue. When this happens a trigger point becomes “active”, sending out pain signals in an attempt to lessen the use of the muscle. Or in simple terms, it’s when an area in a muscle gets stuck and stops moving properly, so sends a message to the body that it needs some help to become ‘unstuck’.

One of the most interesting features of a trigger point is that pain can be referred to another site on the body. So, although you might have pain in the forearm, we can press a trigger point in the shoulder joint which will release it.  It is the aim of the practitioner to determine the true source of the pain, and work to release it.

There are 2 types of trigger points

Active Trigger Points: These can cause pain both locally (in the one spot), or sometimes even in other seemingly unrelated areas; this is the referred pain mentioned above.

Latent Trigger Points: In comparison, latent points won’t be painful all the time but when pressure or strain is applied, they’ll hurt and even change muscle activation patterns.

Common areas affected by trigger points

  • The neck (these are often associated with tension headache)
  • Shoulder blades
  • Lower back
  • Jaw Area

What is trigger point therapy, and how can it benefit you?

So now we know what trigger points are… what can we do about them?

Well, trigger point therapy is specifically designed to alleviate the source of the pain through cycles of isolated pressure and release.  This therapy can be in the form of the therapist’s fingers, thumbs and/or elbows, where they apply pressure and movement to release the tension and therefore the pain.

What happens after these trigger points are identified?

An important part of a therapist’s job is to identify movements made in your daily life (either at the gym, with the kids, or at work etc…) that may be causing these nasty trigger points. We then help you modify these movements, so that you can live a happy and healthy life. It’s important that an appropriate treatment plan is set at your first visit, so that these trigger points don’t eventuate into a bigger problem.

To sum up:

Trigger points are often a warning sign of another underlying issue, so try not to ignore this pain. You don’t have to put up with these aches, pains and niggles. Here at Prana our therapists can help get you on the path to recovery for a happy, healthy and pain-free life!

Kindest (pain free) regards

Chloe

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