Rehab: Detect trigger points and treat them optimally
Trigger points are the smallest muscle hardening caused, for example, by overloading or malaise. Often they are not recognized immediately, although they are responsible for a whole lot of pain.
What are trigger points
Trigger points or trigger points are the smallest muscle spasms , which are caused by overloading or incorrect loading and causing pain . The pain caused by the trigger points can also spread to other areas of the body . The pain of trigger points in the buttocks often radiates into the leg. Trigger points in the shoulder can lead to pain in the arms. Trigger points cause the muscle fibers associated with them to contract strongly and not to relax again. This leads to stiffness and shortening of the muscles, The strong and permanently strained muscle fiber strings, tendons and fascia are thus always constantly under tension, which then often leads to pain symptoms in other areas of the body, since the muscle and fascia system, as well as the nervous system strongly interrelate .
What causes trigger points?
Trigger points do not come without reason. The causes for the development of trigger points are manifold : movement deficits, maladjustments, unilateral movement, overload, injuries and persistent stress can lead to pressure sensitive trigger points, which are also referred to as myogelosis . The interplay of muscles, fibers, tendons, and fascia no longer works optimally, and irritated nerve endings relieve the pain .
As diverse as the causes of trigger points, the affected ones can be so different. It can meet both an office worker who hardly makes sports and is exposed to one-sided muscle strain in the office, or a sporty athlete who regularly exercises and also goes beyond his stress limits.
How are trigger points and fascia related?
Faszien is understood as what is commonly referred to as connective tissue . More specifically, fascies are the soft tissue components of the connective tissue, such as joint capsules, ligaments, and tendons. The fascia network is a kind of signal network through the whole body and is connected to the vegetative nervous system. Fascias have important functions, they keep the muscles as a connective tissue-like sheath, keep the joints together, keep organs in place, protect bones and joints from injuries and serve as fluid storage.
If a muscle hardening or a trigger point arises due to overload or lack of movement , there is also a disturbance in the fascia network , the fasces are no longer so slippery and sticky . The gluing of the fascia by the muscle hardening also has consequences. The fascial network is disturbed and further malfunctions and hardening can occur in the form of trigger points.
Trigger point treatment – how can you handle trigger points yourself?
Trigger points can be handled by themselves . Basically it is about resolving the tense trigger point, which is usually palpable, through targeted massages. The trigger point massage mainly effects the following: interrupts the neurological and chemical signals that maintain permanent muscle contraction, improves blood circulation, and stretches the muscle fibers. You can go into the professional hands of a massage therapist or massage the trigger points yourself . There are different possibilities and aidsfor the self-treatment of trigger points .
Trigger point massage
There are now trained and certified specialists, often physiotherapists or osteopaths, for the treatment of trigger points. In the special trigger point massage, the trigger points are resolved by different techniques . The health insurance companies usually do not pay the therapeutic trigger point massage.
Trigger points with fascia yoga and stretching
Stretching also has a very positive effect on trigger points. The stretching ensures that gluing in the fascia is released and the muscle fibers can relax. Since yoga contains a lot of stretching elements , the special form “Faszien Yoga” has developed here. In this form of yoga the execution of the exercises is rather calm and gentle, so that muscles and connective tissue are stretched. In our article “Faszien Yoga”you will find more information about this.
Trigger points themselves treat with massage devices
Many trigger points are located in places that are difficult to reach, or are difficult to massage themselves. However, there are various aids / massagers to apply pressure to the hardened areas and to deprive the trigger points. Established here are the Faszienrolle, the Mini Faszienrolle, the Faszienball, the doubleball and massagestabe. In order to start with the self-treatment, it is first necessary to locate the trigger point (s). If you find spots, such as in the shoulder or neck area, where a slight pressure triggers an unpleasant painful sensation, you have found a trigger point. Sometimes you can feel a regular bouncy. Now you can use different devices like the Faszienrolle, Massages, or a massage ball, and then relax the tense muscles.
Foamroller / fascia roller and massage balls
The massage can be implemented by means of aids such as Foamroller / Faszienrollen or even Massagebälle. Using a Faszienrolle be rolled out the muscles , thereby being blood circulation stimulated and released cramps . As a rule, this “fascial training” is rolled on the ground. If the pain is too strong, you can also reduce the pressure by rolling against the wall. You can also use a massage ball to treat the trigger point. Massage balls are particularly versatile.
Blackroll and other Foamrollers
Foam rollers are usually made of rigid foam foam rollers , with which muscle masses can be exhausted by self-massage . Muscles and fascia are rolled back “smoothly”.
Often the “black roll” is spoken, but this is only the brand name of the leading manufacturer of fascia rollers. Fasziene rollers are available from various manufacturers and also in different versions, lengths and degrees of hardness . In the case of strong, pressure-sensitive tensions, a foam roller with a lower degree of hardness is recommended. Also for beginners and older people are rather softer Foamroller recommended.
Mini Foamroller perfect for smaller surfaces such as the sole, the Achilles tendon, the hand and the forearm
Fascia rollers are also available in mini format. The Mini Foamrollers are perfect for massage smaller surfaces such as soles, Achilles tendons, hand and forearm. Moreover, they are small and handy and so can be carried along well.
Massage balls – Blackroll Ball and Co
Massage balls like the Blackroll Ball are well suited for the self-treatment of trigger points. Due to the relatively small support surface of the massage ball, you can exert a targeted pressure on the painful area and adjust and adjust this pressure with your own body. To apply the massage ball, place the ball on the painful muscle area and lean against a wall or lie down on the floor. If you have found a particularly painful area – a trigger point, massage it by rolling over the ball very slowly.
Highly recommended is the combination of fascia roller and massage ball, Use the role to find painful trigger points. With the ball, you work afterwards and work the trigger point very purposefully, so that it dissolves slowly.
Massages for the back
Specially shaped massages also facilitate the self-massage of trigger points. They are designed and designed in such a way that you can exert pressure on hardenings even in places that are difficult to reach. They are particularly suitable for trigger points in the neck or lower back.
FAQ Trigger points
In the following, we will answer some of the frequently asked questions about trigger points.
Is a trigger point gone after the trigger point massage?
If the trigger point does not last long, you can solve the hardening and achieve a pain relief after one or a few treatments . Often, the pain will either sound immediately after treatment or up to 2 days after treatment. In the case of trigger points which have long existed, for example, due to one-sided stress in everyday life and which also trigger pain in other areas, successful treatment often takes longeror has to be repeated regularly over a longer period of time. And even if the pain caused by trigger points disappear after treatment, it does not mean they will not return. You have solved the current trigger points by a successful trigger point massage,so that the symptoms do not recur, it is necessary to know the causes and to change something . In the future, this means avoiding misuse or overloading or moving more.
How often should you massage the trigger points?
Trigger points can be massaged 3-6 times a day. Even fewer massages, Eg only once a day or even more rarely are all right. See how it works best for you. However, if there is no relief, you may be massaging the wrong point or there are other causes. Then turn to a doctor or massage therapist.
How long should you massage trigger points?
Trigger point massage is about dissolving muscle hardening by pressure and spreading. For this, it is necessary to activate the trigger point and trigger a ‘well-being’. This means, first of all, the pain is intensified by the exerted pressure, in order to become less or to dissolve completely. The pressure on the trigger point is usually 10-15 seconds n. The pressure massage can be repeated after a short pause. If you are a bit more experienced and know your trigger points and your body well, you can apply the punctual pressure longer – -60 seconds or more . You will eventually get a feel for how long you have to exert active pressure, so you can finally get relief.
Many pain symptoms are due to trigger points. The cause trigger point is often not recognized immediately because the hardened muscle areas are part of a complex system of tendons, fascia and also neural signals and the pain is not only directly at the trigger point, but also radiate into other areas.
It affects both athletes and people who are (too) reluctant to move or are exposed to one-sided stress in the office, for example, or remain in tense postures for too long. Stress can also lead to your system being in imbalance and susceptible to stress Emergence of trigger points. At the same time, trigger points often lead to further hardening , since you are able to preserve the pain and thus create tensions and malfunctions elsewhere.
Through the targeted massage of trigger points, the hardenings can be easily resolved. You can go into the hands of a specialist, but also treat yourself very well at home. For this purpose, there are a variety of aids that will help you to make your self-massage easier.
Please note that if you are successful, you will also have to deal with the cause of the problem and will have to react to the triggers for your trigger points. It is important to pay attention to your body and not to permanently endure it, but also to ensure that you move regularly and keep your muscles, tendons and your complete system in a good flow. If it comes back to the symptoms of trigger points, start early with the self-massage and do something good for yourself. An excellent, preventive workout for everyone is (faszien) yoga.Muscles are both stretched and strengthened. A very good combination to prevent trigger points. If the pain can not be alleviated by the self-massage, or if there is always a long-lasting muscle hardening and pain, seek advice from a specialist.
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