An American physician, Dr. Janet Travell, coined the term "trigger point" in 1942. Her work treating U.S. President John F. Kennedy's back pain was so successful that she was asked to be the first female Personal Physician to the President.
Trigger point massage is the combination of trigger point therapy and Swedish massage concentrating on the areas in which trigger points have formed. Trigger point massage is not a relaxing, passive type of massage. It is specifically designed to alleviate the source of the pain through cycles of isolated pressure and release. Trigger point massage is a good technique to bring immediate relief to conditions like frozen shoulder, stiff neck, tennis elbow and headaches.
Trigger point massage utilizes ischemic compression of individual areas of hypersensitivity in muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. Also called a pressure point massage, this involves stimulating hypothetical trigger points that may refer pain sensations to other parts of the body. These trigger points are defined by their referral of pain to distant locations in muscles, connective tissues, and organs. Trigger points can present themselves as referred patterns of sensation such as sharp pain, dull ache, tingling, pins and needles, hot or cold, as well as can create symptoms such as nausea, earache, equilibrium disturbance or blurred vision.
Trigger points generally occur in more than one location and cause muscle shortening with secondary weakness and decreased range of motion, which can be observed. They can be felt by palpating the muscles; trigger points will consist of tender, hard (or ropy) knots or nodules surrounded by what feels like normal muscle tissue. Self-applied trigger point massage is an appropriate and unusually effective remedy for back pain, because it goes to the source of the problem.
Trigger point therapy applies pressure to these points leading to immediate release of tension and improved muscular functioning. The therapist locates and deactivates `trigger points', which are often tender areas where muscles have been damaged or acquired a re-occurring spasm or "kink" that worsens painfully when aggravated. Due to the location of many trigger points, performing trigger point therapy on yourself can be awkward at best, without the use of tools. Manipulating a trigger point elicits referred pain and often, slight nausea.
When pain is still fairly new, trigger point massage can get rid of it very quickly - usually in two or three days. As a stand-alone therapy, trigger point massage can be done anywhere, not necessarily requiring a massage table or massage chair.
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