WHAT IS TRIGGER POINT MASSAGE (see also Acupressure Message)

When muscles are stressed, overused or injured, they often knot up within their muscle fibre and form trigger points (creating ‘knots’). The trigger points cause pain and tightness and can often result from muscle injury or repetitive strain.Trigger points often cause pain and tightness in other parts of the body. This is commonly known as referred pain and acts as a satellite trigger point.

A trigger point pain can be sharp or dull and can be so painful that it can hinder your lifestyle and movement.A Trigger Point massage treatment is a form of static pressure applied between a muscle and its nerve, using a thumb, elbow or knuckle. At activation, a slight pinch is normally felt. As this ‘pinch’ eases, the muscle fibres release and soften, making the muscle and knot feel relieved and loose. This can sometimes take up to 5minutes.

Releasing a trigger point relaxes the tight muscle at the direct point of pressure and increases mobility associated with the referred pain area. If the trigger point is active and painful, the mild pain of the trigger point therapy is a relieving sensation. The muscle will relax and the trigger point pain will lessen and go away. Sometimes the pain and symptoms will go away immediately.If the triggers have existed for a long time (dormant), it may take several trigger point therapy treatments to treat the source of the pain.

Trigger point massage therapy aims to eliminate the source of pain and muscle dysfunction, rather than just the symptoms.

This is where Muscle Esssence engages in a consultative way and may suggest referrals to other practitioners to balance treatment plans between 2 techniques in order to get the best and quickest recovery outcomes for their client.

People who experience trigger point pain usually complain of localized, regional, aching pain tissues, including muscles and joints. Numbness or “pins and needles” sensation, loss of range of motion, referred pain to other areas of the body, weakness and inflammation are all likely symptoms.

Muscles with trigger points will have a decline in strength, greater fatigue, and longer recovery times than muscles that are pain free, without trigger points. Trigger point pain causes quicker fatigue of muscles at the beginning of a repetitive task and leads to greater chance of a delayed recovery.


There are both active and inactive trigger points.

An active trigger point starts due to a one-time trauma, and might become inactive when the soft tissue heals. However, it is still there, dormant until triggered by something to re-activate it again. For instance, a calf muscle with an inactive trigger point that gets cold might develop a knot and trigger point pain will occur again, long after the injury is gone.

Sometimes we can get a trigger point that will go away in time. Then certain stressors or activities perpetuate the trigger point, so that it repeatedly returns every time we repeat that same activity.

Traumas such as a sports injury, an acute illness, emotionally charged events such as a death or tragedy, overworked or strained muscles, tension or stress, postural imbalances, poor sleep patterns, repetitive work postures, overload, overuse or straining of muscles in the workplace, can all activate trigger point pain and dysfunction.

These trigger points left untreated can return over and over, leading to further dysfunction and cause many more “key” or “satellite” trigger points and refer pain in the same or opposite muscle groups.

A key trigger is directly caused by the original stress or trauma to the muscle. A satellite trigger is a spin-off of a key trigger point (also known as the referred pain). Several satellites could form at any time. It is important to release the key trigger point in order to ease any referred “satellite” pains.


Trigger points can feel like or cause the following conditions: headaches, jaw pain, stiff neck, neck and back pain and stiffness, sinus problems, dizziness, toothache, clicking in joint areas, frozen shoulder, sciatica, weak hip flexion, Irritable Bowel symptoms, knee problems, weak ankles, calf cramps, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis etc. It’s a good idea to rule out other physical conditions and/or skeletal issues by a specialist physician first.

Chronic Trigger points can mimic cardiac symptoms. Caution! ALWAYS get trigger point therapy secondary to a medical examination with a full release from a physician!