The other day, I had a headache. So I started working into trigger points I knew in my neck that could be responsible for it. I could just use my fingers, but better for this bodypart is an EPS (electronic point stimulator) accupressure device. In less than a minute, my pain went away. A few days before that, I had a toothache. I worked into my jaw muscles and poof—pain was gone!
Note: Where you feel pain is most often not the source of pain. There is a chain of events that occur that often leads to pain. The two main sources of pain are #1 glutes and #2 around the shoulder blade. These two areas are responsible for a majority of body pain. If you feel pain in your shoulders and your therapist just rubs your shoulders, your pain may come back in a day or two. Its good for their business, but not good for you.
Here’s a great idea! Download any one of a number of Trigger Point apps and start to figure things out for yourself. They will have a zone highlighted on the body. Click on the zone and it will present to you the most common culprits first. They are prioritized based on years of evidence from Claire Davies, Travell & Simons, or other pioneers in trigger point therapy. It isn’t difficult to figure out.
Then take your fingers and palpate the area. If you want some practice, almost everyone has taut fibers in their forearm and thigh. Feel around for muscles that have lots of tension. Sometimes, you’ll stumble on a little knot that feels like a frozen pea. That’s a trigger point. I practice on myself all the time.
Once you find the trigger point or taut fiber, you can massage with your fingers, a hard lacrosse ball, or a Theracane (for those hard to reach places). For taut fibers, find the central, belly of the muscle. That’s where the trigger point is located. Also use contract-relax on yourself, which is a method to trick your brain into allowing your body to release for a few seconds. Engage the problem muscle, inhale, hold your breath for at least 5 seconds, then release and go directly into a stretch. It tells your golgi tendon organ that you are ok and to not resist the stretch.
Do these things multiple times over several days. Focused pressure, engaging, & stretching; these are the keys to healing. Broader pressure like with a foam roller is good for circulation and lymph movement too, but won’t be as effective as the focused pressure. Doing exercise and especially yoga will make sure your muscle fibers feel healthy and ensure the trigger point doesn’t re-form.
Sometimes, we walk around not knowing where our pain resides. As a Thai Yoga Therapist, I always (I mean always) find places in bodies that a client didn’t even realize was a problem. Sometimes, its difficult to identify what zone to start with in the Trigger Point apps. So, going to a therapist who knows trigger points can be helpful when you don’t know where to start. I know that I can find the source of your problems.
Once you have an idea of where to start, then you can apply the Thai Yoga Therapy principles on yourself. A traditional therapist is helpful and may be working trigger points without even knowing it. But someone with a clinical approach can be extremely beneficial to actual healing.