All About Knots and Trigger Points by Steve Brophy RMT

The Knotty Truth

If you have ever felt “knots” in your muscles then you have almost certainly felt the discomfort of “Trigger Points”. Trigger points are technically defined as “a taught band within skeletal muscle or it’s fascia ( connective tissue ) with a characteristic pain referral pattern”. They can be caused by any muscular trauma, poor posture, a sudden forceful stretch or contraction – particularly by a fatigued muscle, or even metabolic waste if the body can’t clear it quickly enough. They usually start when a small sensory nerve in the muscle detects a distortion and causes a few muscle fibers to contract slightly to prevent an overstretch injury. Rather than returning to normal once the danger has passed, the sensory nerve continues to fire and the muscle fibers continue to contract.

This kind of little knot can refer pain somewhere else in the body. Common examples of this are trigger points in the gluteal area causing leg pain, or trigger points in the upper shoulders and neck creating tension headaches. The pain patterns are typical from person to person. So much so that when a client describes the exact location of their headache I can often locate the source in just a few seconds.

Trigger points can be effectively treated using massage therapy techniques. These techniques consist of sensitive hands compressing the trigger point and carefully stretching and contracting the involved muscle using muscle energy techniques. Other techniques include “dry needling”, injection of local anesthetics, low level laser therapy or pulsing ultrasound.

Everyone has a many trigger points in their body at any given time. The reason that we are not continuously wracked with pain is because most trigger points are what is referred to as “Latent”, meaning that they are present but not causing any noticeable symptoms. A latent trigger point becomes “active” when it begins to cause discomfort. This is usually when clients come in for help. Skillfully applied massage techniques can often bring relief and eliminate trigger point pain in just one or two sessions.

About Steve Brophy RMT

Steve Brophy RMT has been involved in various forms of health care for most of his adult life and has been involved in massage therapy since graduating from Kikkawa college in 1998. Most recently he has been working on a medical / surgical unit as a licensed practical nurse and will be resuming his osteopathic studies in 2018. He has practiced massage therapy in a variety of settings including chiropractic clinics, gyms, and various multidisciplinary heath centres in Ontario and Nova Scotia. Steve has experience with sports injury rehabilitation, pre/post-natal care and labor massage, postural modification and palliative care. His work is informed by his experiences training in Yoga, Thai Yoga Massage, Shotokan Karate and other martial arts. Steve’s work has been described as deep, dynamic, and specific with trigger point therapy being a regular feature.

Online booking available here.


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