Trigger Point Therapy

What is a Trigger Point?

      According to Doctors Janet Travell and David Simons in their widely acclaimed medical textbook, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction:  The Trigger Point Manual, myofascial trigger points are tiny contraction knots that develop in a muscle when it is injured, overworked, or metabolically impaired.

      The defining symptom of a trigger point is referred pain; that is, trigger points usually send their pain to some other site.  This is an extremely misleading phenomenon and is the reason conventional treatments for pain so often fail.  It's a mistake to assume that the problem is always at the place that hurts!

     Travell and Simons's research has shown that trigger points are the primary cause of pain 75% of the time and are at least a part of nearly every pain problem.

     Trigger points cause headaches, neck and jaw pain, low back pain, tennis elbow, TMJ, sciatica and carpal tunnel syndrome.  They are the source of pain in such joints as the shoulder, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle that is so often mistaken for arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, or ligament injury.

     Trigger points also cause symptoms as diverse as dizziness, earaches, sinusitis, nausea, heartburn, false heart pain, heart arrhythmia, genital pain, and numbness in the hands and feet, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia. 

     Trigger points can also form as a result of  sports injuries, overstretching injuries, dislocations, unresolved whiplash injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, rib pain, partially torn tendons, ligaments and cartilage, degenerated or herniated discs and more.  Even fibromyalgia may have its beginnings with myofascial trigger points. In fact any joint, ligament or muscle tendon in the body that is experiencing pain can be treated with trigger point therapy.

What is Trigger Point Therapy?

     Trigger Point Therapy  involves the placement of thin needles (acupuncture needles) into the trigger points involved.  This causes a localized inflammation in these weak areas which then increases the blood supply and flow of nutrients and stimulates the tissue to relax, reset, and repair itself.

     Historical review shows that a version of this technique was first used by Hippocrates on soldiers with dislocated, torn shoulder joints. He would stick a hot poker into the joint, and it would then miraculously heal normally.  Of course, we don't use hot pokers today, but the principle is similar-get the body to repair itself, an innate ability that the body has.

How long will it take to complete a course of treatments?

     The response to treatment varies from individual to individual, and depends upon one's healing ability and degree and chronicity of injury. Most people may only need a few treatments while others may need 10 or more depending on the degree and chronicity of injury. The average number of treatments is 3-6 for an area treated. The best thing to do is get an evaluation to see if you are an appropriate candidate.  Once you begin treatment, you will understand how you are responding. 

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