When you pop a zit, there’s a sense of both relief and of gunk getting moved out of the area. The pimple doesn’t disappear immediately, however. It still takes a day or two to completely go away. Popping the zit has initiated the healing process for that area. There’s been a state change, but it will take time for it to be evident.The same is true for trigger points. The change created when you release a trigger point might not be obvious right away. That’s because the tissue needs time to clear that area of waste metabolites that still pollute it. This is useful to know so that you don’t get disheartened when your trigger point work doesn’t produce immediate miracles. It also helps our treatment strategy to know that sometimes what the area will need is not more trigger point work, just more time to process the gunk still there. As you'll see in Today's Session, below, it is for this reason that Margarita wanted to give an area a break today, after working on it for the last two. The analogy and comparison of zits and trigger points can raise more interesting ideas and information. I close with one which I find crucial to know: Trigger points, like zits, are inevitable If you have skin, you’ll get pimples. If you have muscles, you’ll get trigger points. Some people get more pimples than others. Ditto for trigger point. Regardless, they are a natural byproduct of our body’s attempts to stay balanced. Paul Ingraham writes, “The take-home lesson is that trigger points are a more or less inevitable by-product of having muscle. In the broadest possible terms, I believe that trigger points, like pimples, are a natural consequence of the physiological trade-offs involved in having high-functioning tissue that can’t possibly work perfectly all the time, under all conditions.”
Today’s Session As I mentioned above, we took a break from the back of the shoulder. Margarita's impression what that the area needed at least a day to sort itself out, and I felt the same. We didn’t go very far, though, just up to the right side of the neck.
You can get a sense of where Margarita worked by the red marks. To the right of the red area you can see the shadow of the Sternocleidomastoid muscle. If I were more buff, you'd also be able to the trapezius muscle to the left of the red area. The muscles in that area are posterior scalenes, splenius capitis and levator scapulae. Communicating during the session Learning from our previous sessions, Margarita and I are refining our communication. This allowed us to get specific more quickly. What was our refinement? Usually there is a lag between her finding a trigger point and me being able to say “right there”. Often that slight lag means that she is actually off of the trigger point by the time I say it. So now Margarita knows to backtrack just a bit. Selective trigger point therapy The neck is another area where there are often quite a few trigger points. It’s tempting to just go after every single one that is found. This is not the best strategy*. It’s better to spend a bit of extra time feeling around to establish which is the trigger point that is most icky, painful, triggering. I certainly seemed to have a whole line of trigger points to be found today. This posed a good challenge for Margarita and I to take the time to palpate around and look for the best one to work on first. *One reason is that getting that main trigger point to release will sometimes take care of other ones, too. See you tomorrow! Sources & Disclaimer Much of the material we cover here comes from Margarita and I’s educational and clinical background as well as the good old Interweb. Paul Ingraham’s e-book http://saveyourself.ca/tutorials/trigger-points.php has been a primary resource for putting this all together. I heartily recommend his site. From what I’ve seen so far, he is organized and accessible in presenting material. He is also always ready to debunk ideas that don’t stand up to research and logic, a quality I always appreciate. Nothing here should be taken as medical advice, and following any practices presented here is at your own risk.