What is Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy?
Myofscial Trigger Point Therapy is a modality of massage that focuses on pressure on “trigger points,” to relieve pain and improve mobility. The word myofascial means muscle tissue (myo) and the connective tissue in and around it (fascia).
Myofascial pain often results from muscle injury or repetitive strain. When stressed or injured, muscles often form trigger points, which may refer pain to another area.
What is a trigger point?
A trigger point is an irritable spot in a taut band of skeletal muscles. When trigger points are activated, it causes muscular dysfunction or pain, weakness, and limitations in your range of motion.
What is referred pain?
Trigger points are painful when pressed on, cause a shortening of the muscle fibers, and have a special property called referred pain. Referred pain means that a trigger point in one muscle can create pain in another area. In the illustration below, Xs are indicated as trigger points and red shaded areas are indicated as referred pain. So sometimes you might experience pain in one place that is actually caused by a trigger point in a completely different area.
Illustrated by Barbara D. Cummings (Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction The trigger Point manual by Dr. Janet G. Travell and Dr. David Simons)
What to Expect in Your Trigger Point Therapy Session
We’ll start by determining why you’re experiencing pain or tightness. During the evaluation, you’ll be taken through a posture and movement analysis and a series of range of motion tests. Understanding where in the body you experience pain will help us to determine which muscles may be causing it. So, before we dive into treatments, we start with a comprehensive evaluation of the possible sources of your pain.
Treatment consists of massage, manual compression, stretching and contraction. This process is a 50/50 effort between a patient and his or her trigger point therapist, so that patients can learn how muscles are supposed to contract and relax. Rocktape® (a kind of sticky cloth “kinesio tape”) may be applied to certain areas to correct movement pattern and reduce your pain. Posture and movement pattern are re-evaluated to assess your progress.
Learning how to treat yourself is very important for your pain relief. At The Tomo Touch we teach you simple self-care techniques to help you deal with acute pain activations and to speed the healing process in between your formal treatment sessions. Working together in this way, we can accomplish more rapid and complete pain relief.
What to Wear
During the myofascial trigger point therapy session, your therapist will need easy access to the areas of your body that require treatment. Depending on what area is being treated, your body may be placed in a variety of different treatment and stretch positions and you may be asked to stand and walk around so that your therapist can assess your posture, movement and gait. We recommend that you wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that can be adjusted so that your skin is easily accessible for treatment.