Trigger point therapy: What does it treat?

When it comes to receiving physical therapy treatment, manual therapy is one of the most popular forms of care. Manual therapy is an umbrella term for a range of hands-on techniques. Each technique is meant to address particular symptoms and conditions. With a wide variety of techniques at their disposal, a physical therapist can apply the ones that are most effective for each patient. One great form of manual therapy is trigger point therapy

A trigger point refers to tight fibers, or “knots,” in the skeletal muscle that can cause referred pain. Referred pain means that the ache is felt in a different area than its source. For example, a trigger point in the neck can often result in headaches. Trigger point therapy is a soft tissue treatment that allows a physical therapist to alleviate the trigger point pain by applying pressure with their hands, which helps reduce the referred pain as well. 

Looking to address an injury or chronic condition? Trigger point therapy can be an excellent option. If you are not sure whether this therapy is right for you, it can help to learn about some of the conditions it can help treat. Understanding the vast scope of the manual therapy technique can help illustrate why it is so popular for treating many different issues.

Conditions that trigger point therapy can treat

  • Sciatica — There’s a nerve that runs from your lower back and down each of your legs, known as the sciatic nerve. Not only does it supply sensation down the back of your leg, but it also helps to control the muscles located in the back of your knee and lower leg. When there’s a herniated disc or bone spur in your spine, it can push against the nerve, causing radiating pain as well as weakness and numbness. A physical therapist can use trigger point therapy to help alleviate sciatica symptoms by focusing on the common trigger points associated with sciatica pain, which are located in the glutes and buttocks. 
  • TMJ disorders — There’s a joint that connects your skull to your jawbone, known as the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, and it works as a sliding hinge. When the joint isn’t working properly, and there’s pain throughout the jaw area, it’s called having a TMJ disorder. Besides pain, TMJ disorders can also cause jaw stiffness, headaches and clicking sounds. The trigger points for TMJ disorder symptoms are in the muscles surrounding the joint. Trigger point therapy involves the physical therapist applying pressure to the muscles that are at the root of the symptoms to alleviate tension.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome — The median nerve is a nerve that runs through your wrist into your hand. This nerve plays a crucial role in maintaining your hand’s functionality. To reach your hand, the median nerve runs through a tunnel at the wrist called the carpal tunnel. This tunnel can become compressed for a variety of reasons ranging from wrist injuries to diabetes. This results in a condition called carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be a difficult condition to manage. With persistent symptoms like pain, tingling and numbness, it can have a significant effect on your ability to do things with your hands. Fortunately, trigger point therapy can help with hands-on pressure applied to the arm muscles and wrist flexors that are causing the symptoms.
  • Frozen shoulder — Trigger point therapy can be a great treatment for people who have frozen shoulder. Typically caused by irritation in the tissue around the shoulder joint, frozen shoulder can be a major source of shoulder pain and discomfort. The condition is called frozen shoulder because stiffness and limited movement are key symptoms. By addressing the soft tissue restrictions with applied pressure to the trigger points, a physical therapist can help restore your shoulder’s range of motion and alleviate discomfort.
  • Plantar fasciitis — The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. Inflammation of this tissue is called plantar fasciitis. People with plantar fasciitis may experience persistent aching, heel pain and other symptoms. If you have plantar fasciitis, your physical therapist may recommend a range of treatments including trigger point therapy. It will involve pressure applied to the plantar fasciitis trigger points located in the calf muscles.

Lattimore Physical Therapy offers trigger point therapy

Looking for a clinic that offers effective and innovative treatments? You can find an array of great treatments like trigger point therapy at Lattimore Physical Therapy. Our team is well equipped to address a variety of conditions with a personalized, hands-on approach.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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