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Pain Management







Trigger point therapy is a bodywork technique that involves the application of pressure to tender muscle tissue in order to relieve pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body. It may also be called myofascial (myo = muscle, fascial = connective tissue) trigger point therapy. Trigger point therapy is sometimes classified in the group of treatments called neuromuscular therapy or NMT. Myotherapy, developed by Bonnie Prudden, is a related type of trigger point therapy.

Benefits: Trigger point therapy is said to interrupt the neural signals that cause both the trigger point and the pain. The object is to eliminate pain and to re-educate the muscles into pain-free habits. In this manner, the swelling and stiffness of neuromuscular pain is reduced, range of motion is increased, and flexibility and coordination are improved. The therapy can also relieve tension and improve circulation.

Physical conditions that benefit from trigger point therapy include: arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic pain in the back, knees, and shoulders, headaches, menstrual cramps, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, tension, and weakness, postoperative pain, sciatica, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), tendonitis, and whiplash.

Treatments: Therapy is usually conducted on a padded table. It is important to have open communication with the therapist throughout the session. Treatment sessions can last 30 to 60 minutes. Acute pain can be relieved in as little as one session. Chronic pain may require numerous treatments.

Precautions: Persons with infectious diseases, open sores, or recent injuries should wait until they have recovered before beginning trigger point therapy. Persons taking anticoagulant prescription drugs may experience bruising after trigger point therapy.

Research and General Acceptance: Interest in trigger point therapy is growing in Europe and Asia as well as in the United States; The American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM) recognizes trigger point therapy as a valid approach to the management and relief of pain. In the traditional medical community, trigger point therapy is viewed as a complement to other treatments. Patients are referred by a variety of health professionals including psychiatrists, orthopedic surgeons, and anesthesiologists.


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