Five Tips for Preventing Painful Trigger Points
It’s no secret that the best way to discover and treat active or latent trigger points is to see a sports massage therapist such as myself.
While it would be wonderful to have a sports massage every other day to stay feeling strong and flexible, few people have that much time or money to dedicate to their body.
Luckily, there’s plenty you can do outside of massage to help prevent the development of painful trigger points. Please read on for my five tips
1. Exercise regularly and eat well
While we don’t precisely know how or why trigger points develop, we do know that healthy, active tissue is less prone to developing trigger points.
Regular, full body exercise that challenges your entire range of motion will reduce the stiffness that is believed to develop into the taut bands of tissue found in trigger points.
At the same time, you shouldn’t overload yourself, as this can lead to tissue damage and adhesion – another cause of trigger points. Be sure to include plenty of rest days, and balance your exercises so that one part of your body is never doing too much work too frequently.
Nutritional inadequacies have also been found to increase the likelihood and sensitivity of trigger points. Deficiencies in vitamin B, C and folic acid can result in reduced tissue repair and metabolic function.
2. Avoid muscle constriction
Muscle constriction – where a muscle isn’t able to move for extended periods – is commonly caused by sitting for too long, sitting with one leg over the other, wearing heavy bags, postural imbalances or lying in awkward positions.
Prolonged muscle constriction can lead to tightness and reduced range of motion, two of the common factors that lead to the development of trigger points. It can also reduce circulation, which will typically result in pain and slow down the rate of tissue repair.
3. Reduce stress, anxiety and depression
Psychological factors such as stress, depression and anxiety are all closely linked to trigger points and general sensitivity to pain. It’s common to find people with painful trigger points who are caught in a cycle of stress, which causes impaired sleep, which results in further stress.
If you notice that your pain is worse when you’re feeling down, make sure that you include ways of de-stressing and addressing any mental health issues. This can be combined with physical activity and massage therapy. You’ll experience a much better treatment outlook if both body and mind are getting attention.
4. Take a hot bath or visit a sauna
Trigger points respond well to increased circulation. Using heat packs, saunas or hot baths are excellent ways to increase circulation. You also experience increased muscle and tendon flexibility when hot, which gives you an opportunity to stretch otherwise stiff areas. A good example of this is in Bikram Yoga.
Of course, a hot bath or trip to the sauna is also a great way to reduce your stress.
5. Perform self-massage
In between professional massages, you can perform some simple self-massages on the affected area – as long as you can reach it!
Massages you can do yourself that are beneficial for trigger points are stripping massages, where you apply deep pressure with your thumbs and move slowly up and down the muscle, and ischemic compression, where you press on the affected area, hold for about 30 seconds, then release. A foam roller is a great piece of equipment to help you perform self-massage.
An experienced sports massage therapist will be able to show you some simple self-massages that you can perform in between visits to help in the treatment and prevention of trigger points.
If you’d like to learn more about trigger points, click here to read my blog on the different types of trigger points and their causes.
And if you want to make an appointment for a sports massage, you can call the clinic on 020 7937 1628 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maggie Perez Claiden – Massage Therapist