Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy
What is a myofascial trigger point? According to Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons, it is “a hyper-irritable spot, usually within a taut band of skeletal muscle or in the muscle fascia. The spot is painful on compression and can give rise to characteristic referred pain, motor dysfunction, and autonomic phenomena.” (Travell & Simons Trigger Point Manual)
Myofascial trigger point therapy is used to relieve muscular pain and dysfunction through applied pressure to trigger points. These points are defined as localized areas in which the muscle and connective tissue are highly sensitive to pain when compressed. Pressure on myofascial trigger points (Mtrps) can send referred pain to other parts of the body. This treatment is based on the discoveries of Travell and Simons in which they found the causal relationship between chronic pain and its source.
What does this mean for you? If you have experienced enigmatic pain that seems to move around, pain that has persisted long after it should have, reduced range of motion, muscles aches and stiffness, you may have active or latent trigger points that are contributing to your pain pattern. As a Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist, I am an expert in locating and deactivating trigger points.
Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) is a thorough program of recovery from acute and chronic pain syndromes which utilizes specific massage therapy, flexibility stretching, and home care to eliminate the causes of most neuromuscular pain patterns. This specific and scientific approach to muscular pain relief will help to bring about balance between the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. NMT enhances the function of joints, muscles and biomechanics (movement) and it releases endorphins, the body’s own natural pain killers. It can be part of a comprehensive program, complementing all other health care modalities.
NMT is an approach to soft tissue manual therapy in which pressure is applied to soft tissue to stimulate skeletal striated muscle. Often these areas of muscle house myofasical trigger points. Through applied knowledge of trigger points, neuromuscular therapy addresses postural distortion (poor posture), biomechanical dysfunction, nerve compression syndrome, and ischemia.
Neuromuscular Therapy examines six physiological factors that may create or intensify pain patterns including ischemia, trigger points, nerve entrapment/compression, postural distortions, nutrition and emotional well-being.
Active Isolated Muscle Stretching
The Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) method of muscle lengthening and fascial release is a type of Athletic Stretching Technique that provides effective, dynamic, facilitated stretching of major muscle groups. AIS provides functional and physiological restoration of superficial and deep fascial planes.
Performing an Active Isolated Stretch of no longer than two seconds allows the target muscles to optimally lengthen, providing maximum benefit without triggering the protective stretch reflex and resulting trauma as the isolated muscle achieves a state of relaxation.
Benefits of AIS include:
- Healthier muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and joints
- Increased flexibility, strength, and range of motion
- Breakdown of adhesions caused by trauma or inflammation
- Reduced risk of muscle spasms, strains, and tears
- Improved circulation of blood and nutrients, which promotes tissue growth and repair
- Improved circulation and drainage of lymph, which helps eliminate waste
IASTM or Guasha
A version of gua sha, Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is a popular treatment for myofascial restriction. IASTM uses specially designed instruments to provide a mobilizing effect to scar tissue and myofascial adhesions
The IASTM treatment is thought to stimulate connective tissue remodeling through resorption of excessive fibrosis, along with inducing repair and regeneration of collagen secondary to fibroblast recruitment. In turn, this will result in the release and breakdown of scar tissue, adhesions, and fascial restrictions.
IASTM is applied using specially designed instruments to provide a mobilizing effect to soft tissue (e.g., scar tissue, myofascial adhesion) to decrease pain and improve range of motion (ROM) and function.
Benefits of IASTM include:
- Resolving chronic muscle tension
- Releasing toxins
- Promoting deep relaxation
- Improving digestion
- Healing respiratory diseases
Cupping is a traditional healing technique dating back to Ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. It is an alternative medicine practice in which round cups, made of glass or medical-grade silicone, are heated and placed on the skin, so that they create negative pressure or suction. They are most commonly placed on the back, the arms and legs, the shoulders, the forehead and neck. The therapist determines the exact position and number of the cups based on the ailment being treated.
Cupping therapy is used to compliment a treatment plan for a host of issues and conditions to promote healing by decreasing pain and inflammation, relieving muscle tension, and increasing blood flow. Blood circulation is increased where the cups are placed, promoting metabolic cell repair. It may also help form new connective tissues and create new blood vessels in the tissue.
Benefits of cupping include:
- Remodels soft tissue
- Facilitates healing
- Promotes scar tissue release
- Reduces pain
- Improves soft tissue function