Five minutes. That’s about how long my husband spent pressing and manipulating around my scapula. The aching in my upper arm decreased significantly, so that I was finally comfortable enough to go to sleep. The next evening, he worked over the area again for a short time. The pain that I had thought was a muscle strain now no longer bothers me with everyday use. I just need to periodically have those apparently distant spots worked out.
The arm has been “a problem” of sorts ever since surgical repair of a ruptured disc in my neck that left me with residual nerve damage. I have strengthened it and kept active, but it has often felt strained. I would stretch gently, massage the hurting area, and even give it some rest time. It was hard to say if anything was helping. I couldn’t tell if it was reacting to the weather or even how I slept.
Then, one day, one of my bare foot runner friends mentioned “trigger points.” I wondered how it was different from massage. I quietly followed the conversations about it for a while. I had learned to respect the opinions of these people and the insights they offered into running issues, but I’m still a skeptic.
When my husband was suffering shoulder pain, I had thought about it and decided it sounded like it was worth ordering the book they recommended, The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. When it arrived, my husband read it, then he asked me to. I got part way through, for reasons explained below.
The book’s explanation of how to cure so many problems by adjusting trigger points may seem overly optimistic, but so much pain is idiopathic and resistant to other treatments that it almost makes sense by default. There is a scientific basis to it, too, though. A very, very short summary is that there are muscles all over the body and everything in the body is connected. When my husband applied the principles to my pain, it worked.
The technique reminded me of what I was kind of doing to my legs on a regular basis, since I started running longer distances, and calling it “massage,” for lack of a better description. After reading the explanations in the book, I slightly altered my leg therapy, which mostly saved strain on my hands, because I didn’t need to do it for so long. I still need to explore how to deal with my arm by myself, so I don’t have to alway bother my husband about it.
My husband’s pain from having physical therapy done on his post-operatively frozen shoulder did not get a real test of how trigger point therapy worked. He said it seemed to help some, but he was afraid to have anyone touch his shoulder. He did continue to press his trigger points some by himself.
The book is full of diagrams to help a person identify sources of pain and know how to work trigger points to relieve it. This means that the size of the book need not daunt the reader. Even the author’s long introduction to the idea can be skimmed for pertinent information. Then, just find the section for the body part of concern to learn how to release those trigger points.
I am still skeptical about a lot of the claims made in the books’ introduction. The same way I am skeptical of claims that if everyone stops drinking milk or only sleeps 20 minutes at a time, most of their ills will go away. However, I think a lot of people could save a lot of money on drugs and feel a lot better if they gave trigger point therapy a try.