Not all muscular pain can be relieved through massage alone; sometimes it can be stubborn. But an online home-study course in trigger point therapy can help fill the gap.

An Internet search revealed numerous home-study courses that are available for any massage therapist to take. Trigger-point therapy can be used to treat headaches, stiffness in the neck, bursitis, tennis elbow, back pain, sciatica, shin splints and other injuries that occur from accidents, sports, occupations and disease.

Some of trigger-point therapy courses include, pain patterns of muscles, general palpation rules for finding trigger points, trigger point locations, stretching and strengthening exercises, and the anatomy of the muscular system.

Continuing trigger-point therapy treatments have been shown to reduce swelling and stiffness of neuromuscular pain, improve sleep, improve your clients’ range of motion, relieve tension, increase endurance, and improve blood flow and flexibility within the muscle groups.

A recent study, “Clinical massage and modified Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation stretching in males with latent myofascial trigger points,” included 30 physically active men between 19 and 25 years old. All of the men studied complained of hamstring tightness and at least one latent trigger point on muscles innervated by the lumbosacral, sciatic, tibial and common peroneal nerves. Those men with active trigger points in these areas were excluded from the study, according to published reports.

The men were divided into three groups for testing. The first group received only proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching. The second group received stretching and myofascial trigger-point therapy, while the third group acted as the control and received no intervention.

The study showed a significant improvement in all the main outcome measures when myofascial trigger-point therapy was combined with stretching, according to the report.

Make sure to check with your national and state licensing bodies to make sure the courses you select are acceptable for continuing education credits.