Self Trigger Point Therapy: How to Release Trigger Points
When releasing a trigger point on yourself, safety must be kept in mind. Many trigger points can be released with the use of a tool, such as a theracane, or even a baseball or golf ball.
How Does Trigger Point Release Work?
As discussed in a previous post, trigger points are caused by a contracture within muscular tissues. To release a trigger point, we must overload the sensory nerve endings in the area, forcing the muscle to release and relax. Once the muscle is relaxed, it must be stretched to reset the muscle fiber length.
Warming up the Area
When releasing a trigger point, whether being done at home or by your massage therapist, it is important to warm the area up first to bring in fresh blood supply. Warming up the area can be done a variety of ways:
- Swedish Massage: apply a small amount of massage lotion or massage oil to the area. Using gentle, fluid strokes, massage the area that needs to be worked on for a few minutes or until you notice the skin become warm to the touch.
- Hydrotherapy: if you have a heating pad or warm compress, this can be left on the area to be worked for five to fifteen minutes prior to releasing the muscle.
- TENS Unit: TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) Units are now available over the counter in stores that have pharmacies. The unit can be applied directly to the area that has the trigger point for five to fifteen minutes before releasing the trigger point.
Trigger Point Tools
Corinne D. Bracko-Douglas, CMT, LMT, CKTP is the owner of Dochas Clinical Massage Therapy based out of Columbia, MO. She received her diploma in Clinical Massage Therapy from The Soma Institute in Chicago, IL in 2004. She enjoys teaching others about how to live a healthy lifestyle and still works one on one with clients out of her private clinic. When not working as a therapist she can be found enjoying trail hikes with her wonderful husband, Lee, and their adorable doggos, Shadow and Koda, or trying out fun new workouts to expand her knowledge of the human body and how it functions.
The advice given in these articles is not meant to diagnose. Please always consult with a health care provider before performing any of the techniques described upon yourself.