If you have acute or chronic muscle or joint pain, then trigger point therapy may help

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Frederick Foresight, May 11, 2020.

  1. I recently read a book on trigger point therapy:

    This form of (self-)treatment was recommended by Stuart McRobert, an author of a few workout books, one of which I recently bought but have not yet read. Apparently, it began to help him fairly quickly with a nagging shoulder and lower back problem.

    As it happens, I've had shoulder issues over the years, the most recent of which still lingers from an incident in 2013. I also have a lower back issue that is more recent. Both injuries were sustained outside of the gym and not during workouts, but unfortunately that fact doesn't account for much.

    I have been self-treating with this therapy for almost two weeks now, and both my shoulder and my lower back are feeling noticeably better than before I started. I'm hoping the trend continues.

    The book linked above received several endorsements from a number of mainstream MDs, which gave me some comfort, since there are people who view trigger point therapy as somewhat woo. However, RationalWiki recognizes the condition:

    Trigger points are permanent localized muscle contractions caused by injury or strain.[4] These are quite real, and treatment for serious occurrences should be left to doctors. Mild ones can be treated by licensed massage therapists, but do not constitute a separate modality; their treatment is a part of sports massage.


    Here is a 4-minute video explaining the issue and the treatment:

    Interestingly, the description below the video refers to the book I linked:

    To learn more about all the specific trigger points and how to treat them I recommend "The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook" by Clair Davies. This book also tells about causes of trigger points and more. For more advanced information about trigger points (requires basic knowledge) I recommend the book "Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction" by Travell & Simons.

    The two-volume work by Travell & Simons is also referred to, and praised, in the Workbook I bought. Janet Travell was JFK's personal physician. It was her success with alleviating skeletal muscle pain that resulted in Travell being the first female personal physician to the President. Travell was called upon by the personal orthopedic surgeon of Senator John F. Kennedy to assist with back pain treatments. Kennedy later appointed her as his physician.

    Last edited: May 11, 2020
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  2. How hard to massage the trigger points? From the book: The goal should be to make the level of pressure you use "therapeutically delicious" or "exquisitely tender."

    As amusing as that sounds, having done the self-therapy, I can say that this description is exactly right. Initially, the trigger points were extremely sensitive to any direct pressure. The pain sensation was acute, bordering on the electric. In time, and presently, there is only mild, dull discomfort, if I can now call it "discomfort" at all. The associated joint discomfort has not (yet?) disappeared, although it has appreciably decreased.

    And so, I will continue with the trigger point therapy for the foreseeable future, several times a day. I'm hoping that the delay in further, or possibly complete, relief is attributed to the time required for the soft tissue surrounding the joints in question to arrive at some sort of equilibrium, following the antagonistic and unrelenting tightening of the "permanent localized muscle contractions" that the therapy is supposed to relieve. But at this point, I'm just talking through my hat and hoping for the best.

    Even if I don't get complete relief, I'll take what I can get. Trigger point therapy should offer complete relief if stubbornly contracted muscle tissue is the extent of the problem. If the underlying issue is more serious, then at least the compounding discomfort brought about by the myofascial dysfunction will be resolved. Also, chronic conditions take longer to resolve. Hoping for the best here.
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
  3. You're in for a long haul. I have had a lower back issue since 2015. I have been to massage therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, no real relief that lasted more than a few hours, if that. It's an odd feeling, not actually pain but more like pressure. Imagine someone pushing their thumb into your lower back. Anyway, a good year ago I started this pressure point therapy with a hard rubber ball. Just rolling around on it and it was very uncomfortable to begin with, but some relief came rather quickly. As time went on periods of relief lasted longer and longer. I'm talking hours not days. I would do unnatural acts for days.:wtf: These days I can sometimes get the better part of the day with say 80 percent relief. Better than anything I ever got with anything else I did.
  4. You had the ball on the floor or against the wall?
  5. On the floor. Easier to locate and manipulate pressure that way, least for me.
  6. Pic of the ball I use Ball.jpg
  7. I once saw a video of that some time ago, with a guy on the floor with a tennis ball. I tried it, didn't like it, and didn't bother further at the time. I find that leaning into a wall allows for much more control of movement, let alone finding the trigger point(s) and massaging them properly as shown in the video I posted.
  8. Interesting. The book suggests a rubber ball, although a tennis ball can be used. But the book noted that a tennis ball can slide against the wall. A rubber ball, like a lacrosse ball, which is what I got, won't slide. So that is what I use.

    The ball you use almost looks like a marital aid. :D How hard is it? Does it give at all? Just curious, since I find that the lacrosse ball hits the spots just right.
  9. I think it would depend on the location you're trying to hit. I'm right around L4, L5 and horizontal from that. Just easier fot me, but it does work.
  10. It is hard AF, no give. You can buy them on Amazon. Search for massage ball. This one I have was given to me by a Physical therapist at the University of Chicago
    #10     May 12, 2020