Bursitis Trigger Point Therapy

This therapy has made absolute wonders for my hip bursitis.

Now, it is an understatement if I say it hurt when my strong Hungarian physiotherapist applied all her strength into her elbow as she was pressing it on some trigger points on my thigh. But it worked! My legs never felt so pain-free and light in my life. Thank you, Esther!

Considering how the trigger point therapy has helped me - fast, cheap and safe - with bursitis that did not respond well to hardly anything else, it is mind boggling that a good trigger point therapist is so hard to come by and the method itself is so insufficiently researched and under-rated.

Is your bursitis not an bursitis?

It is possible, that you were misdiagnosed and your bursitis is in fact a trigger point spasm in disguise. You would not be the first one.

Doctors Janet Travell and David Simons, the authors of The Trigger Point Manual, believe that bursitis, tendonitis and arthritis near the joints are very often nothing more than a contracted trigger point knot in the connected muscles.

Some doctors even claim that trigger points are the main source of pain in whopping 75% cases they come across.

So, if you have tried all conventional treatments (anti inflammatories, pain killers, steroid shots, stretching, rest), but to no avail, don't despair, they just were not the right cures to release the contraction in the affected trigger point knots.

How does it happen that contracted trigger point knots can get mistaken for bursitis and tendonitis?

All of these conditions share the same symptoms - the pain if you press on a joint area. It could be irritated bursa / tendons as well as trigger points referring pain to muscle attachements (i.e. bursae and tendons). If the latter is the issue, trigger point therapy is the right treatment because it goes to the source of the problem.

Trigger points

Before we look at the treatment, let's understand what trigger points are.

Myofascial trigger points are tiny (size of a mustard seed...but can hurt as hell) knots in muscles that have contracted involuntarily.

They are not actual knots, but rather patches of tightly contracted muscle in a spasm ('cramp') within a larger muscle, that cut off their own nutrition and blood supply.

A family of trigger points is called myofascial pain syndrome (MPS).

These spasms are creating weakness and dysfunction in the muscle, particularly in the areas where the muscles attach to the bones, which can cause pain in the nearby joints.

Trigger points can form as a response to strain or overwork, be associated with or even be a cause of many conditions.

There are more than 600 possible trigger points in our body. But there are about 15 of them that cause problems most frequently.

Uncertain location

The most troublesome issue with trigger points is, that they usualy refer pain to other areas of the body.

Example: Carpal tunnel patients tend to suffer from this aliment as a result of contraction in a muscle in their armpit. Bizarre.

This is a problem, because most treatments assume that the source of pain is where the pain occurs. But when we are dealing with trigger points, the actual cause of the pain can be in a completely different location. Go figure.

Bursitis trigger point therapy

Bursitis trigger point therapy can be carried out by your massage / physio / chiropractic therapist or self-administered.

Pressure over the trigger points should be:

  • Aimed directly at the contracted portion of the muscle
  • Applied slowly
  • Maintained until there is a change in the pain sensation
  • Released slowly

When pressure is applied to the trigger point, expect these benefits:

  • Muscle contraction stopped
  • Muscle fibers stretched
  • Blood circulation revived
  • Metabolic waste products removed
  • Pain in the muscle relieved

So could bursitis trigger point therapy be the solution to your painful problem?

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