Releasing Chronic Soft Tissue Pain Points
What is a Myofascial Trigger Point?
A Myofascial Trigger Point is a tiny localized spasm in a muscle motor unit. This contraction sets up a stress-tension-pain cycle in the body. In an active Myofascial Trigger Point, the motor unit is always 'on' and the nerve keeps firing signals to the spinal cord. These nerve signals bleed over to overload all tissues on that nerve pathway, which causes pain and reduced movement. The on-going spasm contracts the muscle, squeezing the capillaries through which the Lymphatic System clears metabolic waste products. The metabolic wastes left behind keep irritating the tissues, causing pain signals to increase. This is the stress-tension-pain cycle.
What is Neuromuscular Therapy and How Does it Work?
Trigger Point Therapy resolves long-standing pain and movement dysfunction patterns in the soft tissues of the body. It reduces pain by taking advantage of the ways in which the nervous system and soft tissues work. Finger pressure interrupts the constant nerve signals to the spinal cord, reducing nervous activity. Pressure forces the metabolic wastes out of the tissues. The muscle then relaxes, circulation and oxygenation increase, and the body returns to normal levels of neurological communication, integrity, and balance. A feature of a Trigger Point is a predictable pattern of referred pain when it is pressed.
Resolve Trigger Points without needles
Several techniques resolve Trigger Points. Physicians might use dry needling or injections of saline solution directly into a Trigger Point in a muscle to resolve a Trigger Point. Chiropractors often use a "spray and stretch" method which can be cold and uncomfortable.
Since these traditional methods sometimes produce discomfort, I have adopted and developed gentle, non-invasive manual massage techniques to resolve trigger points with minimal amount of residual pain and discomfort.
Manual therapies that effectively resolve Trigger Points are
- Deep sustained pressure into the Myofascial Trigger Point
- Myofascial Massage
- Deep Tissue Stroking
- Muscle Energy Techniques
Integrative Acupressure is also an excellent partner treatment to resolve the conditions which create Myofascial Trigger Points.
Does Neuromuscular Trigger Point Therapy Hurt?
There is a certain amount of discomfort in deep muscle therapy. The first treatment is usually the most uncomfortable. Though mild pressure does not create pain in healthy tissue, pressure on a Trigger Point can be tender to painful. Pain when pressing on a Trigger Point is helpful information to the therapist. It indicates where adhesions, muscular spasm, trigger points, and cellular waste products are located. I encourage constant feedback from you to ensure that I give minimal discomfort while producing maximum results.
How Long Does It Take for Trigger Points to Go Away?
The goal of NMT is to help you get well, not to keep you coming for treatments forever. The initial examination and NMT session lasts about one hour. Though long-standing problems may not clear up overnight or in a single session, they do respond well to a consistent therapy program. The duration of the therapy program depends on:
- How much damage has been done
- How rapidly the body heals
- The state of general health
- Those stress factors influencing one's life
- The length of time the condition has existed
Once the patient is pain free and moving more efficiently, the therapist will recommend periodic maintenance treatments and continuing "homework."