Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy is a technique used by Massage Therapists which was developed over 50 years ago. Direct pressure is applied to a specific muscle that has become contracted or over-lengthened for extended periods of time preventing it from returning to its rest position.
Trigger Points, also commonly referred to as “knots”, are felt as painful areas in the muscles that cause pain to refer into other parts of the body. The individual may also experience symptoms such as tingling, numbness, burning, as well as weakness and restricted range of motion in the affected muscle. These points can occur in any part of the body, but are often most likely to be found in the upper back or neck. Trigger points will usually occur on both sides of the body, with one side being more symptomatic than the other.
Upon compression by the therapist, the trigger point will often reproduce the individual’s pain pattern. As the muscle relaxes, the pain and discomfort should then diminish. Massage therapists will apply pressure to trigger points using their thumbs, knuckles and elbows, as well as with specialised treatment tools. T-bars made of wood, plastic or metal, often rubber capped, may be used.
The most common causes of trigger points are poor posture, structural imbalances, repetitive activity and overuse, emotional factors, and direct trauma or injury.