Trigger points are areas inside muscle tissue that are tighter than the surrounding muscle.
These spots are known to cause pain, both in the muscle area where they are found and in surrounding areas of the body. It is not uncommon for a trigger point in the lower leg to cause associated pain in the hip and thigh region or down in the feet.
The pain caused by these trigger points can vary from a mild ache and soreness to intense and sharp paid, such as that felt during full muscle cramps.
Trigger points have no single cause, but are can be created by a variety of problems. The most common are psychological distress, some forms of hormone imbalance, lingering effects from muscle infection such as cellulitis, and acute or direct muscle trauma such as twisting, tearing, or impact.
The focus behind therapeutic trigger point massage is to target these tight spots and release the muscle tension, eliminating both the immediate area pain as well as associated pain.
It is not always obvious where the actual trigger point can be found, as associated muscle and nerve pain can mask the source of the trigger point.
A massage therapist trained in trigger point massage knows how to differentiate the normal muscle tissue from a tightened trigger point, and is able through slow prodding massage to locate the actual source of the problem.
The massage therapist uses intermittent pressure and release, usually targeted at the isolated area just around the trigger point, to release the tightened muscle. While the massage therapist works on the affected muscle, the customer goes through deep breathing to both help locate the area and naturally move the muscle tissue to assist in relaxing the trigger point.
It is important to consider trigger pain with suffering muscle aliments, as this type of problem is often misdiagnosed by medical professionals who rarely consider trigger points in diagnostics.