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Trigger Point Therapy

How Does Trigger Point Therapy Work?

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Simply rubbing the surface of the skin with a massage lotion, a vibrating massager—or using heat—will not change the tissue of a single trigger point. What it needs is sufficient deep sustained pressure to the "knotted-up area." As you work the Trigger Point, your body will undergo soft tissue release, allowing for increased blood flow, a reduction in muscle spasm, and the break-up of scar tissue. It will also help remove any build-up of toxic metabolic waste.

Your body will also undergo a neurological release, reducing the pain signals to the brain and resetting your neuromuscular system to restore its proper function. In other words, everything will again work the way it should.

How Long Does it Take to Get Relief

The length of time it takes to release a trigger point depends on several factors, one of which is how long you have had your trigger point. Other factors include the number of trigger points you have, how effective your current treatment is, and how consistently you can administer or receive treatment.

Even if you are lucky enough to find a clinician who can properly assess your condition—let alone treat trigger points—it can be time-consuming and costly to pay someone to completely release all the primary, latent, and myofascial trigger points you may have in your body. You can try going to a massage therapist, but trigger points are very fickle; they need to be addressed daily using a technique that will apply the pinpoint pressure that is needed. Most likely it will be impractical to see a massage therapist frequently enough to get a trigger point to release.

An Approach That Makes Sense

The basic idea is simple. First of all, a trigger point is only about the size of a mustard seed, which is one of the tiniest of all seeds. The idea is to put sustained pressure on the area for a set period of time on a regular basis. There are a number of techniques out there that you can employ to do this. The bottom line is that you need to take the initiative.

"There is no substitute for learning to control your own musculoskeletal pain," says Dr. Simons. "Treating myofascial trigger points yourself addresses the source of that kind of common pain and is not just a way of temporarily relieving it." In other words, you can fix your own trigger points better than anyone else—once and for all. Dr. Simons has it exactly right: You must educate yourself about your condition and then apply what you've learned. This runs counter to today's conventional wisdom, which says that whenever we have a health issue, we should find someone to take care of the problem for us.

What I'm saying here is that you need to take responsibility for managing your own care. From time to time, of course, you may find you need help from medical professionals. But even so, the more you know, the better care you're going to receive. This is naturally going to require some time and effort on your part, but the payoff will be faster with far better results.
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