Trigger Point Therapy
At Release and Restore Wellness Center I work with patients to normalize neuromuscular imbalances and movement restrictions through a specific form of trigger point therapy. I practice and teach the Receptor Tonus Technique (Nimmo Method) which was developed in the 1950’s, and laid the groundwork for many modern forms of myofascial and trigger point therapies.
What is a trigger point and why is it such a big deal?
A trigger point is a focal point of irritation in a tense band of muscle or fascia. It is commonly referred to as a “knot” in a tight muscle and is frequently the primary cause of pain. This focal tension of the muscle/fascial fibers negatively impacts neurological input.
Trigger points can be actively painful or only painful once pressure is applied; either way, they can adversely affect your biomechanics, lower your threshold to pain, create an inflammatory reaction, and disrupt normal nervous system function. They can even make you experience symptoms (fatigue, numbness, tingling, pain, etc.) distant from their location. Because trigger points aren’t always actively painful, they can exist for long periods of time, still affecting how you move and affecting your nervous system, until suddenly you have symptoms that seemingly come out of nowhere. This is why trigger points often go untreated and are ignored as the origin of injury or pain.
Trigger points are formed by irritations and imbalances to your nervous system. These can include:
- Acute trauma
- Overuse and repetitive motion
- Poor posture
- Emotional and mental stress or trauma
Our bodies and nervous systems learn through repetition forming “habits”. Therefore when trigger points are left untreated, they can worsen and begin to affect other areas of the body. This leads to more global movement restrictions, widespread chronic pain, and unhealthy changes in mental and emotional wellbeing. Long term this can become your new “normal,” a new way your body has learned to “be” over time. Don’t be discouraged, the body is always capable of change with the right input.
My treatment changes the afferent input (which is the input your nervous system is gathering from your environment) thereby affecting the efferent response (which is the effective response to your body: physical, neurological, or emotional). Simply put this is how I am helping to improve joint mobility and normalize muscle tension and nervous system function. Sometimes results are quick and drastic, other times it’s more gradual over time; it all depends on you as a patient. I treat everyone as an individual case, realizing there are different factors that contribute to your condition but not necessarily someone else’s. It’s not all up to me though. You also have to break unhealthy patterns outside of my office, you have to be an active participant in breaking these “habits”. This may include improving work ergonomics, exercise, stretching, diet, mindfulness training, etc. Part of my holistic approach is to provide you with suggestions and referrals, so know you won’t be doing it all on your own.
What to expect from my treatment:
- Each treatment lasts about 20-25 minutes, depending on the complexity of your case.
- More chronic conditions usually need more visits than acute cases because the longer tension and motor dysfunction builds the more difficult it is to release (remember we’re working on breaking a habit that has formed).
- Treatment can be uncomfortable because trigger points are filled with inflammatory chemicals. When I apply pressure, it may hurt. Don’t be afraid to tell me to lighten up!
- You may be sore post-treatment, but this is temporary. Drink lots of water and apply a cold pack. Most patients don’t even mind the soreness because they already feel such relief.
- Yes, I will try to distract you with stories and most of the time it works. If you prefer silence just let me know, otherwise I’ll just keep chatting like we’re having a little kaffee-klatsch, minus the coffee.
A few things to note:
- There is no age I cannot treat. Everyone benefits from chiropractic care and trigger point therapy. I have treated 5 month olds, 92 year olds, and everyone in between. I adjust pressure according to each individual. Kids generally think my treatment tickles!
- In most cases, my treatment is exactly what patients need; however, I am not an island of healing. Everyone needs physiological, neurological, mental, emotional, and creative balance to improve and maintain optimal health. If I think that you will benefit from another type of therapy, or need to see another specialist for a consultation, I will happily give you their information. I want what’s best for you, even if it may not be my services. I am a committed member of a strong network of integrative care providers and I put my patients first.
- Our bodies don’t function independently from our environments. There is a direct relationship of what our body/mind senses coming in, to what our body/mind actively puts out, much like a reflex. Our nervous system forms patterns of movement, posture, and emotions based on similar repetitive input. If we live stressful lives, that can show up in our muscles in the form of trigger points. If we can improve our environment, we can pave an easier path for our bodies to achieve health and wellness.