Trigger point massage utilizes ischemic compression of individual areas of hypersensitivity in muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. A trigger point is an area within soft tissue structures that is characterized by local tenderness and/or referred phenomena, which can include pain, tingling, numbness burning, or itching. An active trigger point can cause immediate pain or prevent a muscle from fully lengthening. A latent trigger point is unnoticed until pressure is applied. It often feels dense and fibrous.
Trigger points may be associated with deficiencies of vitamin B-6 and other vitamins. They may be a result of underlying visceral disease, arthritic joints, or other trigger points. Trigger points can cause referred pain. Possible causes of trigger points are fatigue, trauma, chilling, skeletal asymmetry, other trigger points, arthritic joints, visceral diseases (ulcers, renal colic, myocardial infarction, gall stones, kidney problems, irritable bowel syndrome), vitamin deficiencies, hypoglycemia, chronic infection, or food allergies.
Trigger points may develop any where in the body, but are most commonly found at the sites of the greatest mechanical and postural stress. Some signs of trigger points are: restricted movement; stiffness or weakness in muscles; subcutaneous tissue feels coarsely granular, ropy, knotty; weakness in muscles; or deep tenderness.
Firm digital pressure clears the trigger point by repeatedly flushing the blood and accumulated toxins out of the trigger point. This creates conditions that foster healing. Superficial trigger points are treated first, applying 8-30 seconds of digital pressure. Reconditioning the muscle after the pain is reduced makes latent trigger points less prone to reactivate. The area is flushed with deep effleurage, patronage or friction. The therapist may return to same trigger point and repeat treatment 3-4 times removing, as much of the pain as possible. Ice can be applied after the session or recommend client to ice at home. Client must follow up with high intake of water to flush the toxins and a deter bath. This will eliminate deter symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. Following up with movement re-education exercises will integrate the changes into the nervous system.