A trigger point massage may be the answer to your post-workout pain dilemma. Many people experience stiff, sore muscles after a vigorous workout and need relief ASAP. Here are a few key aspects to keep in mind when contemplating having a trigger point massage.
There is evidence that some common aches and pains are caused by trigger points (small areas of contraction) in the muscles of the body. These knot-like areas can cause low back pain, headaches, jaw pain, neck pain and a variety of other painful symptoms. Often, the pain is felt in an area away from the offending trigger point. This is known as referred pain. Fortunately this occurs in predictable patterns. This helps a knowledgeable massage therapist to locate these little trouble makers, so that they may be effectively beaten into submission.
A Typical Session
A treatment session usually begins with an evaluation of the body to locate areas of pain and discomfort. The therapist will pay particular attention to your range of motion and posture. The trigger points can be located by palpitating muscles to look for hard, tender areas. Once a trigger point is located, it can be effectively treated by applying static pressure. This is typically done with the thumbs, but sometimes special tools are used. After treatment, there will be increased blood flow and oxygen to the area, which will help to break the cycle of spasm and pain. Techniques to lengthen the muscles and increase range of motion are often done after the treatment of each trigger point.
When to Schedule
The common thinking was that to prevent post-workout pain, a massage should be scheduled immediately following the workout. There is new evidence suggesting that this might not be an ideal situation. Therefore, you may want to try having a massage before your workout one week, then schedule one for the day after your workout the next week to see which feels best to you. Of course, you can always do both. Either way, you should find that your post-workout pain is significantly decreased.
Trigger point therapy is one type of massage that lends itself to self treatment. There are special tools made that will help you to reach and treat your own trigger points or you can use something as simple as a tennis ball and the weight of your body. Consider having a few professional treatments done before attempting to self treat. This way you will know exactly where your problem areas are and how to address them.
If you have a recurrence of pain shortly after your trigger points have been deactivated, there could be some health or nutrition problems predisposing you to trigger points. Make certain that you are getting an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals into your diet and drink plenty of water. Consider getting your thyroid checked as well. If the hormones, which the thyroid controls are too low, this can play a role in the development of trigger points. Hypoglycemia and food allergies have also been implicated in the development of trigger points.
Now that you know how trigger point massage can ease your post-workout pain, you have one less excuse to put off that workout!