Today, I’m going to pick up from where I left off regarding trigger points. If you read my blog on treating these troublesome sites of pain and irritation you’ll notice that I said that lasting removal of trigger points usually requires changes in the way you use your body. Why this should be so is related to why trigger points usually get set up in the first place, namely as a response to trauma.
So what happens when you eliminate trigger points through treatment? Well, the immediate effect is going to be relief. Trigger points can be a source of great misery and getting rid of them is often hugely liberating, so much so that people often plunge straight back into the activity that caused them in the first place. This is understandable but seldom ends well.
Muscles weakened by trigger points need time to recover. Typically, they’ll have been held in a contracted position for a long time, and a structured program of gentle stretching may be necessary to restore normal resting length. Violent or sustained contraction under load or repeated shortening may aggravate muscles previously affected by trigger points and lead to a resumption in trigger point activity.
It’s not always possible for people to avoid activities which might re-active trigger points. Many jobs require that we use our bodies in particular ways for example. Or we might have other commitments, like caring for an ageing relative or driving long distances for work or family reasons, which can lead to aggravation of healing tissues.
Practitioners can often help clients to manage the post-treatment phase of trigger point therapy. We can recommend specific exercises, discuss ways to change potentially harmful activities, help people recognise the warning signs when trigger points are about to be activated. Sometimes, an on-going maintenance program is the best answer to avoid re-injury.