Often pain begins somewhere in the body. Either just like that, after sports, after an injury or after an accident.
What follows, usually is a visit at the doctor´s office. A diagnosis will be given (often through X-Ray or MRI), and usually painkillers are prescribed, sometimes physiotherapy, too.
Mostly, medication only helps temporarily, and physiotherapy does not always help or only transiently. The pain comes back, over and over again!
Often new pains arise and affect life even more.
Many of my readers write that they no longer want to see their doctor, because sometimes they only have even more drugs to offer – but many of my readers do not really want to take more drugs. They want to know what is going on and they simply want to get better.
Passive manual therapies, on the other hand, often only help in the short term (even if they are effective), because “only” passive work is done to the patient. He or she does not become active and does not get the homework he or he needs. In addition, trigger points are often overlooked.
The consequences usually are frustration, fear, anger, and hopelessness.
Yet the desire of people in pain is almost always the very same! They want to know the reason for their pain and want to know what they can do themselves to finally get better!
Few know that trigger points are responsible for most common pain symptoms, or at least contribute to them. This is also the case for chronic pain.
It does not matter whether it is “only” tension pain, restricted movement, immobile joints, or deep-seated pain.
Even “strange or inexplicable symptoms” can be caused by trigger points.
However, trigger points are often not known to therapists or get ignored. This can lead to frustration and unsatisfactory results.
With “normal” massage and passive treatments, the treatment is only done “around” instead of “on” trigger points. And that is due to the simple fact that only few people really look for them.
This is a common scenario: During the treatment, the patient says: “Yes, right there, this is where it hurts, this point causes my pain.” And yet, soon after some therapists work other points and do not really listen to their patients.
Of course, trigger points then remain active or latent and continue to cause pain or other complaints.
However, they must be “hit” exactly in their center, otherwise the treatment is not as effective as it could be. This is usually at the point in the muscle where it hurts the most, and where the “patients’ pain” is causes by pressing in the muscle.
And that is exactly what you can feel better than anyone else! No one can get to know your body as well as you do, and no one can feel your body as well as you do. No one can feel your pain, only you can do so.
Therefore, you can treat trigger points yourself so well. Many other manual techniques from Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Chiropractic etc. you cannot apply yourself. With trigger points the exact opposite is the case.
With a bit of practice, they are very easy to treat, easier than you might think.
Another point why passive manual therapies sometimes fail to work, in combination with the argument above, is that you are not treated often enough.
I know many therapists say that the body needs 1-2 weeks after a treatment to “reorganize” itself and to let the treatment take effect, and for some methods that may be true.
With trigger points however, this is different – at least in my experience. Trigger points, if they are persistent, must be treated several times a week, often even daily.
It is not necessary to do long sessions; five minutes are often enough! But you cannot see your physiotherapist every day.
Firstly, this might be too expensive for you, secondly you probably do not have the time, and thirdly you must get an appointment right away when actually need it.
With a trigger point self-treatment however, you can treat yourself as often as you want, no matter when or where you are – at no cost.
And if you still want to see your therapist, which is totally legitimate, then you can help yourself until you see him or her, as well as in between appointments, and thus complement the work of your therapist wonderfully. He or she can then concentrate on the things you cannot do yourself.
Trigger points are therefore not the whole truth but are often overlooked. For this simple reason, many treatments do not work, or are not as effective as they could be.
And that is why I think it is important to get involved yourself, too.