About The Body.
Muscles account for more that 60% of the human body
mass, making up the largest part of our bodies. They are
responsible for all movement of the human body. With such an
enormous responsibility, it is easy to see how muscles can be
subjected to wear and tear, fatigue, overuse, and injury.
When we want to move or use our muscles, the
muscle contracts, and this is typically a voluntary action.
However, sometimes the muscles contract involuntarily, which we
call a spasm. Muscles are also subject to another condition,
known as a Trigger Point, which is essentially an involuntary
contraction of only a small portion of the muscle, creating pain
and dysfunction within the muscle. One of the reasons that
prescription muscle relaxants are ineffective on Trigger Points
is that the medication would have to be strong enough to stop
all involuntary muscle contractions...one incredibly important
involuntary muscle, your heart, might not agree with this!
Trigger Points have been studied and shown to be
the most common cause of musculoskeletal pain. Pain clinic
doctors have found that
Trigger Points are the main source of pain nearly 75% of the
time! Trigger Points cause the muscle to remain
tight, which weakens the muscle and puts stress on the points
where the muscles attach to the bones as well. This often leads
to pain in nearby tissues.
A unique feature that distinguishes Trigger
Points from other muscle pain is that Trigger Points almost
always refer pain to other areas of the body. This is why many
treatments are ineffective. Most treatments assume that the area
of pain should also be the source of pain, yet the actual cause
could be in a completely different location. Trigger Points and
their referred pain can be associated with many conditions, and
may even cause some of them!
You can learn how to control your
musculoskeletal pain by treating Trigger Points yourself, saving
yourself from multiple, costly, professional office visits!
Treat The Pain.
To treat Trigger Points, sometimes firm pressure must be
applied to the Trigger Point for long periods of time, some
shiatsu techniques say 1 to 3 minutes of firm pressure then
repeat! Trigger Point therapy can reduce
pain, increase movement, and allows the muscles to lengthen and
become stronger again. Light
pressure is not effective for treating Trigger Points, and in
fact may increase spasms as the muscle tries to protect itself,
leading to increased and more constant pain. In
contrast, moderate to heavy pressure applied to a Trigger Point
causes the pain to initially increase, but then as the muscle
relaxes the pain will fade.
Pressure should be applied slowly and released
slowly for best results. The pressure should be maintained until
there is a change in pain. If there is no decrease in pain after
one minute, stop the pressure - this is probably not a Trigger
Point! While, or after applying pressure to Trigger Points, the
relaxed muscle should be stretched for more effective treatment.
Either way, if the muscles are not returned to normal length,
there is a greater likelihood the Trigger Points will reoccur.
How Do Trigger Points
Cause Pain and Other Symptoms?
In 1999, David Simons, M.D., discovered that a
Trigger Point is a dysfunction that occurs at the point where a
nerve enters a muscle. Trigger Points result in muscles which
have been traumatized by accidents, injuries, occupational
stress, and overuse. Once a
Trigger Point develops, it can remain for life unless properly
The Trigger Point restricts motion of the
muscles and decreases circulation, depriving the muscle of
nutrients and oxygen and resulting in a collection of metabolic
waste that cannot be properly filtered away. These wastes excite
pain nerve endings and can also damage them. The decrease of
nutrients to the muscle increases spasm and inflammation. Pain
is now being caused by mechanical (pressure) and chemical (waste
product) stimulation. This nasty cycle continues until treatment
Referred pain occurs somewhat mysteriously. Pain
signals in the body that come from several sources are known to
merge into a single nerve at the spine before continuing on to
the brain. As these signals merge, it becomes possible for
mistaken impressions as to the true source of the pain to occur.
Additionally, Trigger Points create shortened muscles which
often compress nearby nerves. This compression irritates the
nerve and distorts the nerve signal transmissions. This can lead
to irregular sensations such as numbness, tingling, and burning.
The Brachial Plexus is a network of nerves originating in the
neck, and supplying the neck, upper back, shoulders, arms,
forearms, and hands. This explains why many Trigger Points found
in the neck and upper back can lead to pain and dysfunction
throughout the upper body. Shortened muscles can also compress
nearby arteries and veins. Decreased blood flow in an artery can
lead to decreased temperature (i.e. cold hands and fingers),
while decreasing blood flow in the veins can lead to swelling
hands and fingers.
Finally, Trigger Points make movement of the
muscles themselves difficult. Stretching or contracting muscles
affected by Trigger Points can cause intense pain, and the body
responds by trying to protect itself, a phenomenon called
"splinting" or "guarding." Over time the muscles stiffen, and
can even form scar tissue, which further immobilizes them. What
was originally decreased movement based on trying to avoid pain
ultimately results in the incapacity of the muscle to move
HOW DOES APPLYING PRESSURE
MAKE TRIGGER POINTS GO AWAY?
When pressure is applied to the Trigger Point, the
chemical/pressure cycle is interrupted, which helps to stop the
contraction and the pain in the muscle. Additionally, the muscle
is heated and kneaded during treatment, which helps to increase
circulation and to remove the metabolic waste products. Another
effect is that muscle fibers become lengthened and stretched
which decreases the pressure component of the pain cycle.
Finally, adding a stimulus (firm pressure) to the trigger point
overrides the pain signals being transmitted, much like a train
track which can be switched.
The advantage of the Pressure Pointer is that
while applying the pressure to the Trigger Points, the muscles
involved are able to be fully relaxed during treatment, allowing
deeper penetration and the ability to stretch. For treatment to
be effective, the specific Trigger Point, or contracted portion
of the muscle, must be contacted with firm, sustained pressure.
A Beginners Guide On How
to use the Pressure Pointer®
For a more
advanced techniques for certain muscles
||Depress the release buttons while
holding your foot on the lower section and lifting
the upper section. Rotate the top section towards
you and set the Roller Head at about your eye
height. Let the release buttons snap into the
nearest adjustment hole.
The Pressure Pointer can be used easily by people
from 4'6" tall to 6'4", sitting in a
regular chair. If you are a little taller, you can
use a lower chair, by using a couch, people near 7'
tall have enjoyed the Pressure Pointer effects. By
using a higher chair, or putting a few phone books
on a low chair, the Pressure Pointer can be used by
just about anyone.
by using the large ball to briskly move around and
increase blood flow and tone of skin. As you begin
to feel tender areas, slow down and apply deeper
pressure, stop on each point and hold firm pressure
for about a minute. You may feel the point 'move'
under the ball, that's the 'releasing' feeling. Keep
some pressure on, follow the point along and
increase pressure again for about a minute again.
After several 'concentrations' on a point, you will
find pain in the area greatly reduced.
|Once you begin to feel
like you are pushing hard with your foot, move to a
smaller head and concentrate the pressure. As you
reduce the head size the precision and depth of the
pressure will increase dramatically. If you have
experience with Pressure Point therapy, especially a
vigorous technique like Shiatsu, you will find the
greatest effect from the smaller heads.
|As you get used to using the Pressure
Pointer, other positions will increase your ability
to treat hard to reach areas. Treatment works best
if you access the area you are working on from
several angles. To change angles, try rotating the
Pressure Pointer around and/or using your other
|By using the back of the chair with
the Pressure Pointer, you can apply healing relief
to the lower back areas. Try sitting in a chair
with a back but no arms, slide the massage head
between your back and the chair. Use the back of the
chair as a wedge point to apply pressure. In this
picture the user would push out with his left hand.
|By cradling the Pressure pointer in
one arm you can effectively treat areas of the neck.
Letting your neck muscles relax while supporting the
weight of your head with the massager works great
for upper and lower neck problems..