Trigger Points Explained
Here’s what I learned from the book: When a muscle gets injured in an accident, or overused, such as when you type all day at a computer, it tries to protect itself from more injury by scrunching up in its’ middle, which makes it pull out of place all the bones or other muscles it’s attached to. It also makes it impossible for blood to get through that area, and all the toxins the blood is trying to clear away gets stuck there and tends to irritate muscles and nerves and makes them hurt or go numb or feel cold or prickly. By the way, the official medical term for “scrunched up” is actually “contracted,” but my term is much more graphic, and it sounds cooler.
The odd thing is, these contracted trigger points, or “knots”, as most people call them, almost always send their weird sensations someplace else, which is why the book had a guide to show me which muscles to go for and in what location. The trick then is to find the trigger point within the muscle, within roughly an area the size of a golf ball. Then you use your hands or a tool to roll over it six to twelve times to make it behave itself and let all that blood start going through again and stop pulling on things it shouldn’t be.
There are a couple of ways to find trigger points. One way is to probe around for what feels like cooked pieces of macaroni under the skin. This is the way our instructor taught us, and this will definitely be the subject of another post one of these days, (as will everything else I talk about.) The book said that some people can easily feel trigger points this way, and some can’t feel them at all.
You can also find them by asking the person you’re working on to tell you when you find a tender spot. On a scale of one to ten; one being no pain and ten being excruciating, when you find a trigger point on a person, you ask them to tell you when the tenderness is at about a five. It has their attention, enough to make them say a very small “ow,” but not enough to really hurt.
Depending on how much and how long a muscle has been damaged by trigger points, it can take anywhere from a few days of treatments to six weeks to completely fix the problem. And it’s never only one muscle that gets affected. Because all the body parts are connected to each other, when one part goes, it’s a pretty sure bet others are going to follow like kids playing choo choo train, and you might end up treating just about every muscle in their body. In Sue’s case, the muscles I had to be concerned about were in her neck and upper arms and under her arm, for reasons I’ll explain later.
To Be Continued In Another Two Days