Trigger Points & Thai Massage
There are approximately 650 skeletal muscles in the human body. They form about 40% of our body weight and 85% of human pain complaints. The commonest muscles affected are those in the neck, shoulder girdle, lower back and hip girdle.
A trigger point can shorten and weaken the muscle. A trigger point usually lies within a taut band of muscle, which prevents the muscle from achieving full length. A therapist with well developed tactile skills can identity the taut band and by following the fibers of muscle track down to the Trigger Point. A TrP prevents the muscle from achieving full length and is often the reason for pain in the joints where the tendon attachment bears the stress. Key in relieving this pain is the release of the TrPs to achieve full elongation. TrPs can refer pain far away from the site of the point itself (compare the picture of TrPs of the Infraspinatus with the referred pain pattern caused by them below).
TrPs can also cause resistance during contraction this is due to TrPs getting compressed during muscle contraction activating the pain receptors at the point.
The main reasons for Trigger Points are
- Rapid and extreme muscular pulls causing muscle to spasm protectively (like in whiplash)
- Prolonged co
- Prolonged contraction (posture, emotion, injury)
- Compression resulting in loss of blood/ nerve supply to the muscle group.
- General overuse
- They can also result from physiological imbalances in lifestyle, diet.
TrP’s are not visible with traditional medical testing such as MRI or X-ray. However, research has shown that around Trigger Points there is a concentration of Lactic Acid and several other molecules that are typical of an inflammatory response.
From an energetic viewpoint, meditators who could direct better focus and awareness to the point and “breathe into it” perhaps causing dilation of the capillaries at the point could “detoxify” such points.
Similarly, a Thai Massage Therapist’s aims to bring the client’s awareness and consequent enhanced blood supply back into the TrP. Once some of the tenderness is relieved and some softness achieved at the point, you can proceed with some careful stretching to the muscle to enhance blood flow even more.
Techniques to handle Trigger Points are dealt with in our Thai Massage Course Anatomy of Thai Massage.