The Trigger Point Therapy for Pain Relief
It's a mistake to assume that the problem is at the place that hurts.
A word from author Clair Davies...
If you’re a long-time chronic pain sufferer, you’re probably beginning to wonder whether anyone really knows anything about pain. You may have spent thousands of dollars on pain treatments. You've tried everything the healthcare community has to offer, and you still hurt! Don’t give up quite yet. You need to find out about trigger points and referred pain.
You may not have heard of trigger points. If not, you’ll be surprised to learn that they are believed to be the sole cause of pain about 75% of the time and to be part of nearly every pain problem. This is based on decades of research by Doctors Janet Travell and David Simons, authors of the medical textbook, Myofascial Pain & Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual.
Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief
The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief, Second Edition
Let's have a look for example at Knee Pain
Quadriceps trigger points are responsible for an amazing amount of trouble commonly attributed to the knee itself. A locked knee, for example, is often due to trigger points in the vastus lateralis, the outer part of the quadriceps.
The quadriceps is the first place to look for the cause of knee pain. A case of jumper’s or runner’s knee is ordinarily not as critical a problem as it seems. It's usually just referred pain from overused quads.
Restless legs can be a simple matter of trigger points in overused (or under used) thigh muscles.
Trigger points can also cause thigh muscles to compress the sensory nerve that supplies the front of the thigh. Superficial numbness and tingling is the result, which will draw a diagnosis of “meralgia paresthetica,” an elaborate way of saying that you have numbness and tingling in your leg. Like too many diagnoses, it leaves the cause unnamed.
Stretching could be dangerous
Physical therapy for hip and knee pain in the form of exercise and stretching can make trigger points worse and, in turn, worsen the pain. These forms of therapy are useful, but only after trigger points have been deactivated. Unfortunately, trigger point therapy isn’t taught yet in very many physical therapy departments.
The book will show you how to Self-applied trigger point massage will relieve hip pain, knee pain, runner’s knee, buckling knee, stiff knee, locked knee, meralgia paresthetica, growing pains, phantom limb pain, and restless legs when trigger points are the cause.
Why has the medical profession not embraced the idea of trigger points? Partly, it's because trigger points are commonly confused with acupressure points. Acupressure, which has come down to us from ancient Chinese medicine, is alleged to have a positive effect on supposed flows of energy throughout the body. Although acupressure and other Eastern methods of healing do seem to have a beneficial effect, they're very resistant to solid scientific investigation and are viewed by many doctors and a large segment of the public as quack medicine with no proven results. If you don't know the difference, the claims about trigger points sound like quack medicine too.
Our knowledge of trigger points, however, comes right out of Western medical research. Trigger points are real. They can be felt with the fingers. They emit distinctive electrical signals that can be measured by sensitive electronic equipment. Trigger points have also been photographed in muscle tissue with the aid of the electron microscope.
Most of what is known about trigger points is very well documented in the two-volume medical text Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, by Janet Travell and David Simons. These books tell virtually all there is to know about trigger points, and the prospects for pain relief are very exciting. Much of the information in the Trigger Point Manual is couched in difficult scientific terms but basic trigger point science isn't hard to grasp if it's put into everyday language.
Travell and Simons describe a trigger point as simply a small contraction knot in muscle tissue. It often feels like a partly cooked piece of macaroni or like a pea buried deep in the muscle. A trigger point affects a muscle by keeping it both tight and weak. At the same time, a trigger point maintains a hard contraction on the muscle fibers that are directly connected to it. In turn, these taut bands of muscle fiber keep constant tension on the muscle's attachments, often producing symptoms in adjacent joints. The constant tension in the fibers of the trigger point itself restricts circulation in its immediate area. The resulting accumulation of the by-products of metabolism, as well as deprivation of the oxygen and nutrients needed for metabolism can perpetuate trigger points for months, or even years, unless some intervention occurs. It's this self-sustaining vicious cycle that needs to be broken.
The difficulty in treating trigger points is that they typically send pain to some other site. Most conventional treatment of pain is based on the assumption that the cause of pain will be found at the site of the pain. But trigger points almost always send their pain elsewhere. This referred pain is what has always thrown everybody off, including most doctors and much of the rest of the health-care community. According to Travell and Simons, conventional treatments for pain so often fail because they focus on the pain itself, treating the site of the pain, and overlooking and failing to treat the cause, which may be some distance away.
Self-applied trigger point massage works by accomplishing three things: it breaks into the chemical and neurological feedback loop that maintains the myofascial contraction; it increases circulation that has been restricted by the contracted tissue; and it directly stretches the trigger point's knotted muscle fibers. The illustrations in this book show you how to find the trigger points that are generating your specific problems, as well as the exact hands-on techniques for deactivating them. Special attention has been given to designing methods of massage that do no damage to hands that may already be in trouble from overuse.