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Trigger Point Release

Trigger points (TP’s) were originally discovered by Dr. Janet Travell and Dr. David Simons.  (Travell was JFK’s White House physician.)  After many years of definition and study, the doctors developed a charted system describing numerous points in various body tissues, and especially muscles.  These “trigger points” were potential areas of stagnation and inflammation, often on a microscopic level.  The interesting thing was that these points were connected to “referral” areas in other parts of the body, sometimes at a distance.  Often, the only symptom the patient had was a pain in the referral area.  He would be unaware that the pain came from an area quite distant from the symptom.  An example would be a TP in the piriformis muscle in your hip that might refer pain to the bottom of your foot.  There’s a muscle near your knee that can make your big toe hurt.

Originally, Travell and Simons treated those points with injection, thereby eliminating pain in the relevant referral areas.  By the time the second volume of their two-volume work was published ten years after the first, they’d discovered that point massage/pressure techniques could also treat most trigger point dysfunction.

Trigger points can be overworked, leading to more pain and prolonged dysfunction, if you don’t know what you’re doing.  That’s why it takes a trained therapist to identify where the pain is actually coming from, and to treat it skillfully and appropriately.

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