Complementary Medicine Introduction to Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy
Alternative medicine terms defined. Holistic health theories defined.
Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy
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Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy is an innovative technique used to relieve muscular pain and dysfunction. This hands-on approach is based on the lifelong medical research of Doctors Janet Travell and David Simons. These pioneers discovered the causal relationship between chronic pain and the source—trigger points.
Trigger points may develop any where in the body, but are most commonly found at the sites of the greatest mechanical and postural stress.
Trigger points are an area of hyperirritability within soft tissue structures that are characterized by local tenderness and may include referred phenomena. These referred sensations can include pain, tingling, numbness burning, or itching.
According to the writings of Drs. Travell and Simons, referred pain is the defining symptom of a myofascial trigger point. It is felt most often as an oppressive deep ache, although movement can sharpen the pain. Referred myofascial pain can be as intense and intolerable as pain from any other cause.
Some common examples of referred pain are headaches, sinus pain, and the kind of pain in the neck that won’t let you turn your head. In fact, that pain in your hip or knee can be nothing more serious than referred pain from myofascial trigger points (tiny contraction knots) in overworked or strained muscles of the hip and thigh.
Not all trigger points refer pain, some are just localized. Each person is different depending on their life history.
Localized areas of deep tenderness and increased tissue resistance that often produce referred pain.
The origin of the trigger point is thought to be changes in the chemical balance in a local area, irritating the sensory systems.
According to author Clair Davies in his excellent self-treatment workbook, the following conditions are often misdiagnosed and can be the true source of the problem for Abdominal Pain– Achilles Tendinitis– Adhesive Capsulitis– Angina– Ankle Sprain– Arthritis Back Pain– Buckling Knee– Burning Pain– Bursitis– Calf Cramps– Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Costochondritis– Discoordination– Dizziness– Drooping Eyelid– Earache– Endometriosis Eyelid Twitching– Eye Pain– Fibromyalgia– Finger Pain– Foot Pain– Frozen Shoulder Genital Pain– Golfer’s Elbow– Gout– Groin Pain– Growing Pains– Hammertoe– Headache Heartburn– Heel Pain– Hip Pain– Irritable Bowel– Jaw Pain– Joint Pain and Stiffness Joint Popping– Knee Pain– Knuckle Pain– Leg Pain– Locked Knee– Low Back Pain Meralgia Paresthetica– Migraine– Morton’s Foot– Neck Pain– Numbness in Hands or Feet Osteoarthritis– Painful Intercourse– Pelvic Pain– Penis Pain– Peripheral Neuropathy Phantom Limb Pain– Piriformis Syndrome– Plantar Fasciitis– Prostate Pain– Rectal Pain Repetitive Strain Injury– Restless Legs– Rotator Cuff Injury– Runner’s Knee– Sciatica Sensitive Teeth– Shin Splints– Shoulder Pain– Side Stitch– Sinus Symptoms– Spinal Pain Stiff Fingers– Stumbling– Subluxation– Tendinitis– Tennis Elbow– Testicle Pain Thoracic Outlet Syndrome– Thumb Pain– Tingling in Hands or Feet– TMJ Disorder– Toe Pain– Tongue Pain– Toothache– Trigeminal Neuralgia– Turf Toe– Vaginismus– Vertigo– Vulvadynia– Whiplash Injury– Wrist Sprain– Writer’s cramp
In trigger point therapy the source of the referred pain, perpetuating factors, and dysfunctional postural patterning are identified. Through the use of trigger point pressure release and stretching exercises, the therapist quickly eliminates and/or reduces the irritability of the dysfunctional muscle. Most patients with myofascial pain and dysfunction see excellent results, and a quick return to their normal daily and professional activities.