What are Trigger Points?
A trigger point is essentially a tender, “knot” within a taut band of shortened muscle tissue. A common area for trigger points to occur is in the upper trapezius muscle in the top of your shoulder. This trigger point usually causes referred the head and restricted movement of the neck (see Fig 1 below).
At the Spine Plus clinics we offer sports and remedial deep tissue massage that is suitable for everyone from the couch potato to the professional athlete! Our highly trained and highly skilled massage therapists use advanced massage techniques that incorporate the latest scientific approaches for optimum long term relief of muscular tension. This involves lots of firm, slow, deep massage strokes that run at right angles to the muscle fibres (“cross fibre massage”) thereby releasing adhesions between fibres as well as tension within fibres. This style of massage is also known as “trigger point massage”, it requires a very precise knowledge of human muscular anatomy. Our therapists are also trained in other advanced techniques such as “muscle energy” and “lock and key” stretching.
Osteopathy and Physiotherapy both involve manual manipulation of the body together with exercise and lifestyle advice to help with a range of conditions such as back pain, rehabilitation from orthopaedic surgery, whiplash, repetitve strain (RSI) and sports injuries.
Physiotherapy evolved in the UK within the orthodox medical framework of hospitals initially as a development of massage therapy. Once upon a time physiotherapists just worked under the direction of a hospital doctor, usually a surgeon. However physiotherapy has now developed into a highly respected independant profession for getting patients back on their feet after injury, illness or surgery.
Clinical Pilates involves one to one tuition in specific corrective exercises that work the deep “core muscles” of the spine and trunk such as "Multifidus" and “Transversus Abdominis” muscles. Good functioning core muscle groups promote segmental stability and postural awareness of the spine and therefore help prevent degeneration of the spinal discs and joints . These muscles often become “switched off” in chronic back pain sufferers and therefore a specialised exercise programme to retrain these muscles is an essential part of a effective long term rehabilitation programme. Our trainers will instruct you how to perform simple yet effective floor / mat exercise that can be performed in your home without the need for expensive specialised equipment
Chiropractic and Osteopathy share a common origin from the late 19th century in America. Chiropractic treatment often involves spinal manipulation similar to the techniques used by Osteopaths (and manipulative physiotherapists) to realign "subluxations" of the spinal joints in order to improve mobility and reduced nerve irritation.
Myotherapy ("Muscle Therapy") = Myofascial Trigger Point Massage + Trigger Point Dry Needling (Medical Acupuncture)
There is often an assumption that soft injuries to muscle tissue whether in the form of direct trauma or repetetive strain will recover on their own and are not as serious as injuries to other tissues such as bone and ligament. However, whilst it may be the case that muscle injuries often show a rapid rate of recovery, their recovery is often not complete. The end result of direct trauma or postural strain is very often hyper-irritable taut bands and trigger points within the muscles, with the muscles and the casing around them (fascia) becoming shortening and fibrosed. Regardless of other causal factors that should be addressed (such as mal-posture, weak core muscles etc) these tight hyper-irritable portions of muscle can become themselves a perpetuating factor by limiting mobility, causing altered muscle patterning and (trigger point) referred pain, even after the original causal factors have been addressed.