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What Point is Triggering Your Pain? By Mariel Steel, LMT

One of the common massage techniques I use for deep tissue massage is called Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT), which is a technique to release trigger points. Trigger points are hypersensitive points in a muscle that can develop after an injury, from chronic tension, or overuse/misuse.

Common symptoms can include sharp or stabbing pain, pain that is so specific you could put your finger on it, muscle twitching, spasm, weakness, or fatigue.

Whenever the muscle fibers are tight and constricted it restricts blood flow. When that happens, nutrients have a hard time getting in and cellular waste has a hard time getting out. This irritates the nerve and pressure on these specific points can cause pain that can be sharp, stabbing, radiating, burning, or zinging in nature.

Common examples of trigger points include in the temporalis and masseter muscles, which can cause headaches. The sciatic nerve is one of the more well-known nerves that have trigger points along a neuropathway which causes pain to travel from the low back or pelvis down the back of the leg.

Trigger points are released by the therapist holding static pressure while the patient performs deep breaths. Practicing deep, slow, and controlled breathing during a massage pushes more oxygen to your muscles and helps it release muscle tension a little faster and easier. This also helps with pain and discomfort, as releasing these trigger points can be painful at first.

As with most therapeutic and deep tissue techniques, the patient may initially feel soreness afterwards. Heat, ice, and Epsom salt baths can help with soreness. Thereafter, patients often feel significant relief of their chief complaints. If you are wondering about NMT and how it can help you, ask your licensed massage therapist for more information.

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