Trigger Point Massage

Muscle Trigger Points, Massage Therapy, Seattle Washington


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I am sure by now you have heard the term “Trigger Point” many times. If you do not know what it is, it is one of those terms you just smile and nod when someone brings it up in conversation. In this blog, I’m going to give you the data and information so when you nod, you know exactly what they are referring to.

So, what is a trigger point? A trigger point is merely a sensitive area in the muscle or connective tissue. Practitioners commonly call them muscle knots. Those of us who are quirky, we call them monkey knuckle. We are not talking about a square or bowline knot, but rather a hypersensitive area of muscle.

These knots typically present themselves as a tight lump when palpating (examining by touch) muscles. Be aware though that there are many lumps and bumps that can be palpated in your body that are not trigger points.

Trigger points causes are not clear cut, but we do know that there are several possible causes. They are dubious and the science on them is only on a high level. It is commonly accepted that they can develop from a muscle injury, either micro – such as posture stress, emotional stress, overuse – or macro, a slip or fall, or trauma.

Tigger points may occur anywhere in your body. The most common areas are your shoulders, neck, upper, and lower back muscles. Other areas are your hip and glute muscles. If left untreated, trigger points can develop and become myofascial pain syndrome, which is a debilitating syndrome of pain and disfunction throughout your musculoskeletal system.

Common signs and symptoms are pain, decreased range of motion, and muscle weakness. Secondary signs and symptoms are redness over the knot, hypersensitivity to the touch, and referred pain when pressing on the knot.

Treatment is also dubious as a diagnosis of trigger points themselves. Commonly agreed-upon techniques for treatment vary. Here are a few treatments (in no particular order):

  • Trigger point injections: this is essentially stabbing the knot with an acupuncture type needle or injecting it with a solution
  • Massage therapy to work out the knots is common with compression therapy
  • Electrical Stimulation using a TENS to send signals through the trigger points to reduce pain
  • Simple muscle stretching

If you find these specific pain points developing, come see us at Lake Union Wellness. As mentioned above, a possible developmental issue of trigger points is stress. Both muscles stress and strain and posture stress and strain. Let us take a look and see if the reasoning behind the development is a Work From Home issue of posture and overuse. If it is not, we will help refer you to the right people that can help.

The basic underlying cause is stress, both physical and emotional. So remember to let off some steam periodically, and don’t forget about your posture at work and home. Minor changes here-and-there may make the difference between a ‘simple’ trigger point or progressing to myofascial pain syndrome.

We look forward to working out these monkey knuckles!

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