A trigger point is a small bound up area within muscle tissue that most often causes pain in other parts of the body. This 'radiating pain pattern' stems from the fascia in our body being linked like a giant 3 dimensional web. This pattern is known as a referred pain. It is called a trigger point because the area that needs released is usually tiny- about the size of your thumb pad- even if the pain is widespread. You may have more than one trigger point as well. Often times a trigger point can cause others. For instance:
A trigger point in the IT bands, for example, may produce referral pain in the glutes. The glutes, may then tighten in one spot and cause pain in the back. The pain may be sharp and intense or a dull ache.
Through a sequence of pressure and release, trigger point therapy is specifically designed to remove the source of the pain. Through communication between therapist and client treatment progresses as the client will tell the therapist when the pain changes or dissipates. The therapist will ask "is the pain the same, less or more? throughout the session. This helps identify the pattern of referred pain and where other- likely- trigger points are.
The outcome and benefits of trigger point therapy are releasing constricted points in the muscle tissues/fascia therefore removing pain.
While it is possible to experience a major decrease in pain after just one treatment, if there are many trigger points or the pain pattern has been held for a long time (chronic pain) additional treatments may be necessary.
As with all massage, receiving trigger point therapy on a regular basis can reduce stress, help manage pain and bring about a sense of well being.