A trigger point is like a hot button in the muscle and when pressed, releases areas that seem completely unrelated. For example, a twitching eyelid might be referred symptoms from trigger points in the jaw muscles. Foot pain might be referred from the calf muscles and low back pain might come from hot trigger points in your bum.
Trigger points hurt. A lot and specifically. They zing. When you find a trigger point it hurts a lot more than whatever pressure being applied would suggest. And sometimes just pressing the point refers pain or sensation to a random part of the body. You might say a trigger point hurts so good or feels like it’s scratching an itch. It feels targeted.
Working on trigger points asks you to go straight into the heart of your pain into a pretty quick cessation of symptoms. Metaphorically, the same things happens when you stare in the face of a lie or uncomfortable feeling. By looking straight into the heart of it, symptoms ease pretty quickly, much more quickly than skirting the issue and applying band-aids to feel better.
My 2 favorite trigger point tools are my own fingers and a hi-Bounce Pinky. A tennis ball also works. There are special devices out there like the Theracane, which I don’t love, but have their place. A theracane is hard plastic and has no give. I don’t want to press a hard plastic knob into my searing flesh, but sometimes that hooked shape is pretty nice for getting to a hard to reach area.
When working on a trigger point:
a.) listen to your body.
If it feels like too much, it probably is. If the pain scares you, make sure your breath continually moves and then back off if you need to. More is not more. I’ve had a number of clients come see me after a masochistic self massage session where they hurt themselves more by working on their trigger points than they would have by ignoring them.
b.) Press them as hard as you can stand, which might not be very hard at all, for about 30 seconds.
If you do it a few times a day for a few days and make a project of it for 4 days, you may not have to do it forever. Don’t think of this like an exercise routine you’re going to have to stick with. Instead, consider it a short-term project that will yield quick results.