What is a Trigger Point (TrP)?
First described by the famous researcher Dr Janet Travell, trigger points (TrP's) are small tender areas or nodules which form within muscles. They vary in their consistency when you feel them and usually require a trained hand to find them.
We could blind you with science but basically they hurt.
They get their name from their characteristic ability to trigger pain, which can vary from mild to debilitating. More importantly when they become active, they can refer pain away from their location. They can often mimic pain caused by other conditions and they are very often responsible for many of the aches we feel day to day. Some trigger points sit dormant, not actually firing pain which we experience, but which will go on to become active in time. It remains a mystery what activates these points or what their threshold for being 'primed' is. Very often it can be anything from the cold, mood changes, trauma or just overuse of the muscle. Prolonged static postures are the most common.
In the bakpro package we have provided you with the tools you will need to best treat and relieve these points. We will guide you through how to use them and once you get the knack, it can be quick and easy to 'diffuse' these troublesome areas.
We have provided you with a few of the most common trigger point sites, marked on the anatomy models which can be found below or in your booklet.
We suggest that you experiment by trying to find a few of these points and try the release technique. You will often find the dormant trigger points we have described.
How to release a Trigger Point (and the pain scale)
Before we get to the nitty gritty a quick word about pain. Pain is different for everybody.
Everyone has not only a different threshold for pain but also different tolerance.
In order to be clear, we needed to set a baseline for everyone to go by, whether you are an SAS Ninja or a shrinking violet.
So we have used a scale, called the VAS (Visual Analogue Scale).
Its very simple that's why we love it.
Basically you measure your level of pain on a scale of 0-10
0 being no pain at all and....
10 being so much pain, you can't bare it any longer
The great thing is it doesn't matter the pain you are actually in, it is always relative to someone else. So with that as your reference point you can find your own level.
Releasing a point
First of all find one. Use the trigger maps provided to zero-in on the most common points.
Either with your finger if accessible or with either of the tools. Run the tool over the surface of the muscle with a mild pressure.
As you do, you should feel tender spots in the substance of the muscle. When you find one, locate it specifically and apply pressure to it with the tool. We find that pressure which produces pain to a level of about 6/10 is ideal.
You can judge when that is. It is effectively equivalent to pain that is uncomfortable but just still bearable. Hold this point and breath with your diaphragm (described in the breathing section) long and slow. After 20-30 seconds you will find that the pain eases back to about 2/10. Apply a little more pressure until it is back up to 6. Each time it should take a shorter time to ease back. You are eventually looking for the point to barely respond to pressure. Repeat this to all of the points you find.
Having done this for a while you will find fewer points and they will be much less tender.