What is a trigger point?
Trigger points, also known as myofascial trigger points, are hyperirritable areas within tight bands of skeletal muscle. They can be classified in two ways:
- Active – causing pain
- Latent – not causing pain unless pressure is applied on them
They can occur for a number of reasons, some of which include stress, injury, lack of exercise and poor posture.
What is a trigger point ball?
A small, firm ball that provides deep tissue compression for fast, direct relief of aches, pains, and muscle fatigue. Designed to replicate the pressure of a therapist’s touch, the massage balls are ideal for targeting tightness and discomfort in those spots that you simply can’t get to with your hands.
The thing that we love about them is that they are portable, cheap and very handy for getting into those sore spots!
Where do I put the ball?
Short answer – anywhere that you find tension!
You don’t have to be too precise with the ball, place it in the approximate area where you are feeling sore and then roll around on the ball to really get into those trigger points.
You can do this on the floor or wall depending on how much pressure you can handle. On the floor is going to be a lot firmer as most of your body weight will be going through those sore spots. Alternatively, the wall is a good option for a beginner or someone who prefers a lighter compression.
How hard do I go?
You should be able to apply enough pressure so that the ball digs in, not super sore that you are wincing in pain.
Once you have your pressure right, you should try to relax as much as possible. This may take anywhere between 10 seconds to a couple of minutes to release – be patient and listen to your body.
If you are tense or the muscle is contracted then it is going to be near impossible to achieve the desired muscle release.
- Grieve, R., Barnett, S., Coghill, N., & Cramp, F. (2013). Myofascial trigger point therapy for triceps surae dysfunction: A case series. Manual therapy, 18(6), 519-525.
- Ingraham, P. (2018). Tennis Ball Massage for Myofascial Trigger Points. https://www.painscience.com/articles/tennis-ball.php
If you are having suffering from tight or painful muscles and you are wondering if an Osteopath can help you, give us a call at Berwick Family Osteopathy and Spinal Clinic on (03) 9702 0094, or make an appointment online.
We can’t wait to see you in the clinic and help you with your health.
Blog written by Dr Tom McKenna – Registered Osteopath.
Berwick Family Osteopathy & Spinal Clinic