We have all awakened in the morning to some sore muscles at least once in our lives. After an intense workout, especially, our muscles can become tied in knots and very sore. The question is what to do about it. How do we get relief? Massage Lee’s Summit has the answer – trigger point massage therapy.
What is a sore muscle?
Our bodies are a huge intricate mechanical puzzle, and every piece in the puzzle has an important job. Bones, nerves, and especially muscles make up the entire puzzle. Muscles make up approximately 30 to 40 percent of our body mass and consist of cells and fibers all surrounded by connective tissues. Then within each fiber, there are even more fibers made up of smaller fiber chains. For all of that to work properly, our muscles have to be able to relax and contract.
So what is that nagging and painful knot or “charlie horse” in our muscle? It’s what a therapist would call a trigger point. Trigger points are areas that cause hyper-irritation or a tight band of muscles. This band is either being stretched, compressed or contracted.
Trigger Points Explained
Trigger points are created by excessive releases of a chemical known as acetylcholine. Acetylcholine produces depolarization in the fibers of our muscles, which leads to pain and discomfort. Although a trigger point doesn’t often cause someone to feel pain, it can still restrict our movements and cause us to feel weak or stiff. When trigger points go untreated, our surrounding muscles must work harder, causing even more strain and pain.
Here’s an interesting point, making it all the more complicated. About 75 percent of our trigger points are located somewhere other than where the pain is coming from. Understanding this, the trigger point massage therapist has to find the origin of pain and treat it accordingly. As an example, a headache in your temple may be triggered by slouching in your desk chair, hunched over your laptop computer.
Trigger points typically cause a wide range of symptoms like a dull ache, piercing pain, pressure, heaviness, burning, numbness, tingling, nausea, fatigue, sweating, imbalance, dizziness and twitching.
Trigger Point Massage Therapy
As you can see, trigger points are a big deal. Our freedom of movement and rotation is limited when our muscles are sore and knotted. Yes, you can take a pain reliever for temporary relief, but there is a better way, an all-natural way. It’s called trigger point massage therapy. Trigger point therapy is a special method of massage which targets muscle strains and muscle knots – the trigger points. The result can be that your pain and tension are alleviated. Trigger point massage therapy isolates and uses pressure to relieve pain, especially if performed by a neuromuscular therapist.
Some patients get trigger point massage therapy in large muscles like the hamstrings, glutes, and quads. But, as discussed earlier, trigger points can transmit pain to other parts of our body. Oftentimes therapy is needed as an unlikely location on our body. It’s why most people seek help only when the trigger points are active, causing unrelenting and debilitating pain. Consequently, we start seeking relief.
On the flip side, latent trigger points usually don’t feel as painful, even though they could have been present in the muscle for years. Latent trigger points might only become apparent during the recovery from injury, for example.
Therefore, trigger point massage therapy is helpful, even when we don’t think it’s necessary. Have you ever woken up with a stiff neck or sore back? You may have some trigger points in need of therapy. It can be an effective way to alleviate tension and pain quickly. The technique involves holding pressure on the trigger point for a period of time until the pain lessens or goes away altogether. It can be a bit painful in the beginning, but the intensity begins to diminish very quickly.
Research estimates that nearly 85 percent of our pain is muscle related (myofascial). However, we should also pay close attention to other lifestyle factors. If pain is going to subside and muscles are going to function properly, we have to make difficult behavioral choices.
You can get the best treatment available, walk away feeling terrific, but it won’t matter if you sleep in a crazy position later that night. Regular stretching is an important key to preventing serious trigger point pain. Make good exercise a part of your routine. Stretch and stay in good form. Eat well, hydrate, and try to stay in good posture.
Trigger Point Massage – DIY
But, if it’s too late and you are currently suffering from muscle pain, you can actually begin by giving yourself some basic self-massage.
Press on the trigger points and hold for 60, 80 or 100 seconds. You can also use small strokes that are in a kneading fashion. The direction doesn’t matter, whether you rub back and forth or in a circular motion. If it feels good, do it.
Trigger point massage is like carrying on a conversation with your muscles, so strive to capture a happy tone: friendly but not rude. Don’t try to “hurt so good, but rather to “soothe and calm.” And rub gently.
Start with a single massage session of about 30 minutes, give or take. Let your body tell you when you’ve had enough. A trigger point will probably need about five minutes maximum, but again, let your body decide what it can tolerate.
Rub trigger points with fingertips and thumbs to begin. After you are used to the tissues being stimulated, work your way to fists and elbows. Just make sure you are comfortable and not getting hurt even further. Feel free to use various tools, like tennis balls or softballs, for rolling on muscles. It really works.
The next time you’re working in the garden, lifting heavy boxes, or playing golf and you start having pain (charley horse) that just won’t go away, don’t resign yourself to just suffering through the pain. Try trigger point massage therapy on your own. If you do not get the relief you need, make an appointment to see a massage therapist at Massage Lee’s Summit. Life is too short to live with pain. Find the relief you need with the experts!
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