Part III: Trigger Points- What Do We Do About Trigger Points?
Part II was all about figuring out if a trigger point is relevant or not. Once a trigger point is deemed 'relevant,' we have an arsenal of treatment options that can include self-care (self mobilization) or manual therapy which can range from joint mobilizations to soft tissue treatments such as active release techniques, dry needling, or myofascial release. Any one of the above techniques can be used to relieve unnecessary muscle tension before getting into movement training.
Learning how to perform self care properly can reinforce manual therapy between sessions. This will help you get the most out of our services to ensure long term improvements.
By either repeatedly rolling over or maintaining compression on these sensitive areas while you breath, you begin to “reset” or calm down the protective stretch reflex of the muscle which causes a temporary reduction in resting muscle tension. The stretch reflex activity was briefly discussed in Part I. The stretch reflex is discussed in more nerdy detail in our professional blog: PNF Basic Principle: The Stretch Reflex
It is vital that you know how to address these areas on your own. It is just as important to know which movements to follow it up with. These movements should force the muscles to demonstrate strength and control in the new range of motion. This is how we will teach your body how to be in control of your new mobility. The goal is to get you to the point of independence and self-reliance.
Let's review. We just spent time on a foam roller reducing resting muscle tension in a muscle that was trying to help stabilize us (Discussed in Part 1). For this example, we will use the quadriceps muscle (front of your thigh). After foam rolling, we would follow that up with a movement that teaches the quad muscle how to work in lengthened positions in conjunction with our breath, core & hip stabilizers. One such movement is a half kneeling chop pattern shown shown below.
This thought process & movement practice reinforces the fundamental elements of movement & motor control helping us to restore & sustain balance throughout our body. The movement training, that follows trigger point work, is similar to hitting save on a word document before closing out.
Don’t waste the time you just spent releasing muscle tension, by not then training the muscles and your core how to work & produce force in the new ranges of motion.
This has been a paradigm shift for a lot of our clients, but it is a necessary paradigm for self-reliant movement independence & wellness.