Neuromuscular Therapy Trigger Point Treatment
By: Alicia De Mello
5 Steps To Treat Your Trigger Points at Home!
1. Warm the area completely.
- That can be done with a heating pad, hot shower or simply just a gentle massage. Introduce touch to the area. Feel around. Imagine a piece of string – if you were to put that string between your fingers and slide down the length of it, it should be smooth. Sometimes there's a small knot in the string that will be more than noticeable. If string equals muscle, that knot equals a muscle knot. That's going to be to be a potential area to address. Take notice of areas that are tender or sensitive. (For trigger point maps to show you where to look for trigger points on your body, head to THIS ARTICLE)
- Example You have a headache near your temples. Run your fingers through your hair as if you were shampooing your hair, focusing the area from your temples to just above your ears and slightly behind the highest point of your ears. The temporalis muscles is about 3-4 fingers width from the highest point of your ear. Pretend you're in Grease and you're slicking the sides of your hair.
2. Apply pressure
-It shouldn't be excessive. You're not trying to squash a bug out of existence. You are your own best judge on pressure. Don't be too hard on yourself. Knots and trigger points don't come into being over night. They're not going to disappear in the same amount of time. On a scale of 1-10, find a balance somewhere between 5-7. It might hurt and be uncomfortable, but it shouldn't be unbearable.
Hold pressure for 8-60 seconds. And release. Give yourself a break. You did great. By holding pressure to a knot, you're reducing blood flow. When you release, it causes a rush of blood to the area. This step can be repeated with 30 second release time intervals. Sometimes, this hold-release method is enough to release a trigger point.
4. Cross-Fiber Friction (XFF)
- If the trigger point doesn't release from hold-release intervals, XFF can be effective. Muscles, for the most part, run in a uniform direction. If a muscle runs up and down, utilize a rubbing motion to go against the grain (so in response to up and down, go side to side). Again, it shouldn't be unbearable. We're not trying to start a fire with two sticks. You're trying to “unravel the knot”
For more blog articles by Alicia, head to our Blog Library! Alicia has written an excellent blog on Reflexology as well as Neuromuscular Therapy and is an expert in the massage field.
By: Alicia De Mello
What is Neuromuscular therapy?
Neuromuscular therapy or technique (NMT) is the manual application of specialized pressure and strokes
that have either a diagnostic (assessment) or therapeutic (treatment) goal. The focus of the treatment is to
alleviate myofascial pain and dysfunction as well as deactivating trigger points.
What is a trigger point?
Simply, it's a knot. A small, palpable (able to feel) nodule in a tight band of muscle. Trigger points (TPs)
are painful to pressure and can cause referred pain, decreased range of motion, and even such things as
nausea, runny nose, and eye watering.
• Active trigger point: client is aware and familiar with pain
• Latent trigger point: only tender with touch
Releasing Your Trigger points
How do you treat a trigger point yourself? Visit this amazing DIY blog article, entitled "How To Fix Myself When My Massage Therapist is Nowhere to be Found." There, you will learn a step by step process for finding and releasing your trigger points, specifically for headache relief!
Need help? Book an appointment with a local massage therapist! If you're in the Connecticut, book your appointment at Grow Wellness! Mention this blog and get 10% off! 203-403-3710
Ever notice that your massage therapist will find a spot in your back and just hold pressure there and it
will hurt? Or when your shoulders are bothering you at home so you find a door jam and lean into it?
Most clients I've seen in my career, have referred to it as “that feel good hurt” – yes, it hurts but I know
it's doing something.
Our body is only able to recognize one stimulation at a time. So the pain that we go to a massage therapist
to address or we try to fix ourselves with a door frame at home can be overridden by applying another
sensation – pressure, heat, cold, electrical stimulation, vibration. A new stimulant travels faster than
through our nervous system than an old pain.
NMT should NOT be used within 72 hours of an injury
Why I chose neuromuscular therapy
I have struggled with TMJD issues since I was a child. The worst headaches I experience, are directly
related to my chronic teeth grinding. At a certain point, I accepted that this is just the burden I had to
carry. And then I started getting more and more migraine and TMJD focused clients. That pushed me to
look into ways I could further help my clients, and as a bonus, help myself.
Why You should choose neuromuscular therapy
Especially now more than ever, being post-pandemic, a good portion of the population is still working at
home. Some have went all out and created ergonomic office spaces. While, and I know this for a fact,
some are working whole shifts on laptops in bed. And if we're not working on computers with poor
posture we're “relaxing” on our phones with necks overstretched. We've had to wear masks for the last
two years. Many of us have felt facial pain after a whole day of wearing them, myself included. As much
as we were appreciative of having to wear mask so people around us couldn't see how we really felt about
an interaction (and of course the global pandemic), our facial muscles – from the eyes up – sure did get a
Unbeknownst to a surprising amount of people, our muscles encompass our whole body. The same way
we get knots in our back and shoulders, we're entirely capable of developing knots in our scalp, forehead,
eyebrows, and cheeks. Whether we know it or not, our face is constantly making micro-expressions.
There's the saying “it takes more muscles to frown than to smile”. As a massage therapist, there's no
reason why we should take more care of the muscles in our back and legs than the muscles in the
seemingly less necessary areas like the neck and head. We take for granted the importance of our neck
and head until we wake up one morning and can't turn our head.
On all following charts, “X” denotes trigger points for headaches