Even with the best body mechanics, a massage therapist can be affected by the physical demands of their hands-on work.
Low-back pain is one of the most common complaints found in the massage therapy industry.
Knowing that trigger points can contribute to low-back pain can be the difference between working and continuing to have low-back pain or working without any low-back pain.
Self-Care for Everyone
Janet Travell, MD (1901–1997), and David Simons, MD (1922–2010), co-authors of Myofascial Pain & Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual (with various volumes dedicated to specific areas of the body) thought the perpetuating factors to myofascial trigger points were important to identify and remediate.
Having practiced over 18 years in this field, I can attest to the amazing improvement in my treatment outcomes and in my own muscles once these factors are identified—and more importantly, eliminated in myself and in my clients.
Back Pain Trigger Point Videos
These two short videos are designed to give you an introduction to the complete seven-step myofascial trigger point therapy protocol.
In the first video, Annmarie Biancalana will show us how to do self-applied trigger point pressure release to the muscles: gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, obviously going through the gluteus maximus.
The trigger points in the gluteus medius can refer pain up into the low back, down along the sacrum into the area near the greater trochanter and lightly into the posterior lateral same side hip.
In the second video we see Annmarie showing us how to do a seated leg-crossed overstretch for the muscles in the hip, including the gluteus medius and minimus, the piriformis and the deep lateral rotators.
Always Compress First
It is imperative that these steps occur in this order: Compression then stretching.
Many people continue to think that simply stretching muscles will alleviate their contracted fiber bundles and trigger points.
However, the research tells us that it is necessary to apply ischemic or trigger-point held-static compression to bring peripheral proprioception, change the local biochemistry, and retrain the brain and muscles to return to their full resting length.
About the Author
Mary Biancalana, LMT, MA Edu, CMTPT, is a board-certified myofascial trigger-point therapist, personal trainer and past president of the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists. She is also founder and owner of the Chicago Center for Myofascial Pain Relief, Advanced Trigger Point Seminars and Trigger Point Sports Performance. She wrote “Address & Prevent Your Low-Back Pain with Self-Care Trigger Point Therapy” for MASSAGE Magazine’s July 2018 print issue