How to Release Trigger Points for Myofascial Pain Relief
Last Update: June 28, 2023
Trigger points contribute to muscle and fascia pain (myofascial pain). Learning how to release trigger points will help you quickly relieve myofascial pain, improve your range of motion, increase strength, and reduce muscle fatigue.
One of the symptoms of myofascial pain is painful local trigger points. These trigger points are shortened portions of the muscle that are not releasing, which are irritable, have limited blood and oxygen flow, are tender to touch and generally painful. These nodules can be as small as a grain of salt or as large as a golf ball.
What is Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
Myofascial pain syndrome may include a number of symptoms including referred pain, muscle weakness, loss of coordination and autonomic functions such as balance, digestion, vision disturbances and bladder control.
What Are the Types of Trigger Points?
Problem trigger points need to be deactivated to fully relieve myofascial pain and increase the range of motion. The types of trigger points are central (primary), secondary (satellite), attachment, latent, and active.
The knots in the middle of the sarcomere (the smallest contractile unit of the muscle) are called central trigger points. They create the main “taut band” between each end of the muscle fibre where it attaches to the bone, much like a knot in a rope.
Satellite trigger points are activated by primary ones in other parts of the same muscle.
Attachment trigger points develop near where the muscle attaches to the bone and further restrict movement. These trigger points arise because of long-term tension.
In addition, the ones that are more vocal and that get our attention are called active trigger points. Quieter latent trigger points are only sensitive when pressure is applied. For example, if you've been sitting at a desk for awhile with rounded shoulders, the back muscles will be achy with active trigger points, while the chest muscles will have latent trigger points.
Releasing Trigger Points for Myofascial Pain Relief
We will often instinctively self-massage active trigger points that are giving us the most pain for temporary relief, including those at muscle attachments. Instead, to gain more lasting relief from trigger points, look for the latent ones.
Stretching before releasing the trigger points may continue to create more tension by tightening the original knots. The idea behind fascial stretch therapy and trigger point release is to place each muscle and joint at its optimal functional resting length.
When a muscle is at it's optimal resting length, it will have better blood flow, the limb will move more smoothly and it will cause less pain.
It is possible to find and release trigger points on your own. Use this handy guide to help you understand trigger point referral patterns and to help you relieve myofascial pain symptoms.
Follow the eight steps below to get relief from myofascial pain and release trigger points with self-myofascial release. There are many trigger point tools around, however, we found that RAD makes the best family of tools on the market.
Note: Lifemoves is a RAD affiliate. We do receive a small commission for anything bought using the link. We only endorse things that we believe in and use ourselves.