What Is a Trigger Point?
If you are experiencing pain of some kind, it might actually be referred pain from some other part of your body. One way to treat this is with Trigger Point Therapy. But what exactly is a trigger point?
Your muscles have memory. When I explain that to people, I usually ask them if they played a sport when they were more active, or what else they enjoyed doing.
Sometimes people will say they played golf or tennis, but for this example, let's say it's golf. And I would ask the patients, “if I told you to stand up and show me your golf swing, can you do that?” The patient would respond that of course they could. Why do you think that is?
What happens over time is that if you use your muscles in a repetitive motion, the muscles remember. Basically, you are programming this action into your muscles. Then, if you don't do something that's going to stretch your muscles out, over time your muscles will get shorter and shorter.
This shortening may very well be a cause of your pain. That muscle got so tight, it formed a trigger point-a hyper-irritable spot in the muscle.
Here's how trigger points work if I pressed on your abdomen and pressed on that trigger point, you would feel it refer pain to the
So a trigger point is kind of like a gun. You pull the trigger and it sends the bullet 200 yards straight out in front. When you have a trigger point, it's actually causing the pain to be referred somewhere else.
Your muscles remember where you put them, or what you do with them all the time, as in repetitive motions. If you go out and practice a golf swing, you're going to create new muscle memory. Your body will remember that.
The muscles keep that memory and can eventually shorten (if they aren't stretched regularly) and will cause pain. A trigger point pain pattern can occur.
It's important to stretch these muscles when a patient comes in, and to re-educate the muscles to be longer, not shorter. In Trigger Point Therapy, your therapist will work with you to find the real source of your pain, and will help you to stretch it and ease it back out again, and show you how to maintain that, so that you reduce your pain symptoms and live a pain-free life.