Trigger Points, are they worth all the pain of releasing them?
In this article, we reach out to the Clinical Director and Physiotherapist of Physiologic Ryan Tan to talk about what Trigger Points are, and if they’re worth the pain of releasing them.
You know that specific point in your traps, or outside of your glute, that hurts so much when someone pushes on it?
That’s a Trigger Point.
Simply put, a Trigger Point is a specific point in your muscle that tends to ‘accumulate a lot of muscular tension’.
Why? It’s traditionally thought that the location of trigger points correlates with where there are more nerve endings that attach into the muscle.
More concentration of nerve endings, means more neural activity and muscular activation, leading to more ‘tightness’.
ARE TRIGGER POINTS A BAD THING?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions I get.
‘Should my glutes be this sore and painful?!’, ‘is it normal?’
Truth be told, EVERYONE will have trigger points in their body, whether or not they’re in pain.
So YES, it is normal, and not always a bad thing.
BUT, Trigger Points have the ability to become painful themselves, and even refer pain elsewhere, and that’s when you need to release them.
WHEN SHOULD I RELEASE MY TRIGGER POINTS?
There are 2 situations when I would recommend releasing your trigger points.
1: When they become painful themselves, or refer pain elsewhere.
2: When the built up ‘tightness’ and discomfort limits your mobility.
If left unmanaged, Trigger Points can develop to a point where they’re constantly painful and stiff.
Continuing to train with active Trigger Points will mean that you’re likely compensating in other body parts to overcome the restrictions of the trigger point, increasing your likelihood of developing an injury.
Painful trigger points will also inhibit muscle activation, again, leading to overcompensation elsewhere, accompanied with a higher injury risk.
COMMON TRIGGER POINTS IN ATHLETES
Depending on the demands of your sport, you will have areas that are more susceptible to developing trigger points.
Here, we’ll share the most common that we see across different sports.
- Gluteus Medius and Maximus
- Rotator Cuff
HOW TO RELEASE TRIGGER POINTS
VR has a range of products that will be able to release all the possible trigger points that you could potentially develop from your sport.
Whether you use a Trigger Point ball, a foam roller, or the VR Massage Gun, you will typically sustain its pressure on a Trigger Point for at least 30 seconds, before gently releasing and moving onto the next one.
As a general rule, try to sustain a tolerable pressure on the trigger point for at least 30 seconds, before gently releasing and moving onto the next one.
WHICH PRODUCT FOR WHICH TRIGGER POINT
Trigger Point Balls are good for those pinpoint areas or smaller muscle groups
- Glute Medius and Minimus (side of glutes)
- Rotator Cuff muscles (back of shoulder)
- Upper Traps (Neck/Shoulder)
- Foot (Plantar Fasciitis)
Foam Roller are more suited to bigger muscles, or, if the muscle is too sensitive to use the Trigger Point Ball
- Gluteus Maximus
- Spinal Muscles
The VR Massage Gun is incredibly versatile and can be adapted for use on most muscles, by simply changing the massage head. If you can get a partner to use the massage gun on you, many feel that it is more relaxing and better suited for those hard to reach areas.
If you’re an active athlete or regularly hitting the gym, stay on top of your recovery game by regularly releasing your Trigger Points.
It will maximize your mobility and reduce your risk of injury, helping you to stay healthy in and out of the gym!
Ready to take action? Check out our sleek and sophisticated product range here.
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