All About Trigger Point Therapy

In Brief:

What is it? Trigger Points (TrPs) are painful contraction knots that are aggravated by stress. TrPs cause pain, stiffness, and make other problems worse. They often radiate pain elsewhere, making them mysterious.

How does it help? TrP Therapy aims to reduce & eliminate TrPs, addressing the cause of the myofascial pain & restriction.

What can I expect? There are various methods of TrP reduction that also vary in the intensity of experience from mild & indirect to direct & uncomfortable. In this therapy, a little pain now means a lot of relief later. Some tenderness after treatment is common for a day or two, but usually accompanies a reduction in the original complaint.

Why Turning Point Wellness? We have extensive experience over decades and keep up with the current research into treating TrPs. They are mysterious, so it takes a high-level of expertise to approach them effectively. They can be a devil to find if you don’t know where to look. We’ve had patients come to see us from an hour away because they simply can’t find anything like our approach closer to home.


In Depth:

More on Trigger Points:

TrPs can be described as a reaction to anything a muscle doesn’t like, usually overuse or holding positions for too long. I’ve described them as “side effects of life” because they are a result of activities and posture.

TrPs are a dysfunction in the myofascia (muscle & connective tissue) through some kind of abuse such as repetitive stress, postural challenges, performing exercise & activities, chronic tension from emotional stress, and so on. Research indicates that multiple paths can lead to TrPs, but once they form, they are both a physical (myofascia) and neurological (nervous system) phenomenon.

Their calling card is pain when they are active, but these sneaky guys don’t go away on their own and can lurk under your radar until the next stress aggravates them, turning them on again. They will always interfere with movement & function, weakening & shortening the muscle and causing stiffness in movement.

Believe it or not, TrPs are a factor in most of the pain we experience, either as a direct cause (75%) or by amplifying pain from another condition (93%). It is always a good idea to get TrPs evaluated along with any musculoskeletal or orthopedic complaint as it is a lot less expensive and traumatic to treat TrPs than have surgery!

More on Benefits:

Simply put, TrP therapy helps you to move better and experience less pain in life!

TrPs can be great mimickers, masquerading as other conditions such as arthritis and migraines, for example. Often, it is the TrP that is triggering that condition or at least aggravating it to make things worse.

I had a student once who worked as an admin in an ER and took her TrP book to work one day. The doctors there actually stole her book from her because they said it solved half the problems that walked through the ER door! Dr. Janet Travell, the pioneer in TrP therapy, stated that most of the aches, pain, and stiffness that we associate with old age are actually the result of the accumulation of TrPs over a lifetime that, if treated, need not be experienced!

In San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley, we have a large population of people who sit at a desk all day or code on a laptop. Postural challenges are rampant and causing all manner of pain and even disability. TrP therapy is central to treatment and prevention of common back, neck, and shoulder pain.

More about Treatment:

We’re not going to lie, TrP therapy can be intense. We use milder techniques to reduce the sensitivity of the TrP first before we move to more intense techniques to make it as comfortable for you as possible. Ready to geek out?… We use a variety of methods to treat TrPs including Muscle Energy Technique (MET) & Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT), Myofascial Release, Fascial Decompression or Cupping, stretching and therapeutic exercise, and manual therapy.

TrPs that have been present for some time will be more stubborn to fully release, but in general, TrPs respond fairly rapidly to treatment. In one case, a mountain biker experiencing debilitating knee pain, enough to consider giving up the sport entirely, was able to race again pain free after only 4-6 sessions and get to the podium again with some additional sessions!

The Turning Point Difference:

Expertise, pure and simple. We’ve worked with these for decades and assembled an array of methods to treat TrPs. We keep up with the latest research to bring you the best treatment available and use different approaches to deal with them effectively. We hear this all the time, “I’ve had trigger point work done before, but not like you guys do it. This works!” No one method works best for every TrP, so we use a comprehensive approach to dial in on the best method for you. We haven’t found anyone else that does anything like our work in San Jose, the South Bay, or Silicon Valley… and neither have our patients!