Pioneered by Janet Travell, MD, Trigger Point therapy is a very specific style of myofascial deep tissue. Trigger points are hyper-irritable spots in tight skeletal muscles that can refer pain to distant points in the body. Trigger points occur when the contraction mechanism of the muscle (the sarcomere) becomes locked in the shortened position. If a trigger point is present for a long period of time the muscle fibers can actually become less elastic and chronically shortened, reducing range of motion.
There are two types of Trigger Points; active and latent. Latent points do not cause any pain unless they are compressed, but can be responsible for restricted range of motion, stiffness and weakness of the affected muscle. Active Trigger Points can cause debilitating chronic pain that often refers to another area of the body in addition to the limited ROM and weakness.
Sustained compression of these specific points can neutralize them and eliminate chronic pain. Trigger Points can be quite painful when compressed however they tend to release very quickly allowing the entire muscle to relax and elongate.