Trigger Point Therapy

Ease Muscle Tension

This technique eases muscle tension. The trigger point on the muscle is compressed in an effort to loosen the built-up of lactic acid, which causes the muscles to tense up. By incorporating this technique, the Chiropractic adjustment is easier to deliver and easier to receive. The patient’s benefit is that it expedites the recovery time and minimizes the number of visits needed to achieve stability of the spine and/or extremities.

What is trigger point therapy?

Trigger points are a result of muscles being in a contracted phase over an extended period of time. Whether it’s voluntary in a form of repetitive motion, overuse, trauma, and sedentary life style or involuntary in a form of stress, the muscle produces more lactic acid than the blood supply can carry away. As the lactic acid accumulates in the muscle it forms a trigger point or a knot in the muscle. This knot causes the muscle to shorten, pulling on the bones it attaches to, causing possible misalignments of the vertebrae, restricting joint motion and producing pain.

The knotted muscle will cause a decrease in the circulation, may increase the probability of increased muscle contraction and spasms, and increases the nerve sensitivity from mild to severe pain. A trigger point can cause referred pain. For example, a tight muscle in the neck can contribute to headaches. A tight muscle in the buttock can contribute or be the cause of sciatica, a painful condition of nerve pain that radiates down the back of the leg.

What You Should Know About Trigger Point Therapy

It took a while for the muscle to get into that tight condition, and it will likely take more than one session to get rid of it. Like releasing the pendulum on a clock, on the first swing it almost gets back to the original position. Likewise, after the first trigger point session the muscles will tend to tighten up again. As the chronically tight muscles are reconditioned they will start to get the idea of where they should be. Learning stress management techniques and stretching will help minimize the muscle tightness. Nutrients can also help with muscle tension.

Example

This is a prime example of trigger points (marked with the X) and the red area represents the referred pain.  Working the sternocleidomastoid’s trigger points can relieve the pain marked in red.   Who would think that the frontal headache might be caused by a trigger point on the side of the neck? 

Every muscle has it unique trigger point(s) and areas of referred pain.  Listening to the patient’s complaint is crucial to working the correct trigger points.