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The Latest on Trigger Point

Dec 17, 2018

Trigger Point: How to Improve Your Muscles’ Health

Trigger point release may be a relatively new phrase but the muscular issues that it addresses are as old as time itself. Most people have experienced some sort of muscular trauma whether it be from an acute accident injury or chronic overuse. Regardless of the origin, our muscles can become bunched into what is called a trigger point or “muscle knot” when something is amiss. I know it sounds odd thinking about your muscle being scrunched into a knot but it’s not as crazy as you’d think. Several complications that can come from this are the risk of tearing the muscle and possible joint dysfunction.

Several complications that can come from this are the risk of tearing the muscle and possible joint dysfunction. After you’ve torn a muscle, those tissues may not fully bounce back. You might experience poor flexibility or an overall weakness. Both can lead to further injuries and an ongoing trickle-down effect of problems. The same goes for your joints when their range of motion is inhibited due to a trigger point. Our bodies are built in a way that each muscle has a role of its own whether it’s movement, stabilization of the skeleton, or both. If a particular muscle is not serving its function properly, then there’s a possibility for the joint to move outside its range of comfort which leads to damage of the ligaments, cartilage, and even the bone itself in some cases. Today, one of the most prevalent movement dysfunctions involves the shoulder. Our shoulders have one of the broadest ranges of motion as we need our arms to perform a multitude of tasks that involve varying degrees. This also makes them extremely prone to injury since there are plenty of muscles that are needed to control and support this type of joint.

So, what is trigger point release and how can it help joints like the shoulder with injury prevention and treatment? Well, trigger point release is a type of manual manipulation of the muscle that involves putting pressure on it with an object. Think of it like a deep tissue massage that you can do yourself! The object will help disperse the knot, smooth out the contracted muscle fibers, and stimulate blood flow to that area to promote healing. There are specific items you can buy that are made for this with different levels of intensity depending on your needs. The most common device used today is a foam roller which can be used on multiple body parts. When that muscle knot is being stubborn and doesn’t want to go away, then a smaller object with a harder exterior, such as a lacrosse ball, will help apply more pressure, pin point the specific spot, and release it. You can foam roll before a workout so that your muscles can correctly perform an exercise, or you can roll several hours after you’ve finished to help disperse lactic acid build-up and lessen muscle tightness before it even starts. Incorporating this technique into your everyday life at least once a day will help you stay mobile for years to come!

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