Trigger Points, Mattresses & Self-Treatment Techniques
In this article we will be discussing 6 of the top self-treatment techniques people are using today to reduce pain such as back pain, hip and shoulder pain, waking up with a stiff neck and general body aches and pains. We are not doctors or healthcare professionals and we strongly recommend anyone with pain issues to visit their doctor.
One of the 6 tips we will discuss is selecting the best mattress for pressure points. That means selecting a mattress that distributes your body weight evenly while sleeping 8 hours. If your weight is not distributed evenly, pain from pressure points and trigger points can develop or worsen resulting in sore bodies, aching backs and inadequate sleep. Choosing a better mattress is just one of the things people are doing today to ease common aches and pains. If you are mainly interested in our list of best mattresses for trigger point and pressure point relief, you may want to skip towards the end of the article where we list these top mattresses.
If people are waking up after 8 hours of sleep and find their body in more pain than when they first went to bed something is not right. Or waking up more tired than when you went to bed something is not right. Again we need to stress, if this is you, the first thing you should do is visit your doctor.
Is it the mattress? Several mattress companies are claiming their beds can reduce pain on the body’s pressure points. This is just one tip that we will review in this article. By the end of this article we will list 6 pain relief tips including tip #6 our list of the best mattresses for trigger point pain relief, let get started.
When age catches up with us or when we exercise or do strenuous work, back pain, neck pain and even body pain can be a way of life. Even sitting in front of the computer all day can lead to all sorts of body pain, let alone carrying stuff all day or doing sports. We deal with the pain in different ways. Some simply take a breather and sleep and wait for the pain to go away. Others take pain relievers while some try to relieve their pain by massaging the affected area. The latter is the quickest way to relieve pain in the neck, the back and in other parts of the body but sometimes, people forget even this little task or the affected areas can be so sore that people don’t bother and head straight for the pills, or the doctor, who sometimes tell the patient to take the pills anyway.
Others take the matter in their own hands using their own hands or using sticks to massage themselves. There’s nothing like a good massage to make the pain go away if you can find a good therapist. Ever think that your pain could be the result of sleeping on a poorly designed mattress. A mattress that causes pressure points on the body to get aggravated to the point of becoming a trigger point.
Is Your Old Mattress Causing Painful Pressure Points & Trigger Points To Develop?
Exercise, hard physical work or even desk jobs coupled with stress can lead to pain and discomfort in various areas of the body. We’re not discrediting exercise, exercise is good and necessary as it builds up stamina and tolerance but it does result in immediate muscle pain when done too hard deliberately or inadvertently. With hard physical work like folks in construction, pain is a given. The same goes for athletes in competitive sports such as football, basketball or track and field.
Another factor to consider is the heavy pressure put on the body while sleeping. Sitting too long can cause anyone’s butt to get sore. Quick relief can happen by just standing up briefly, in order to take the pressure off your rear end. When the body is put through enough stress or pressure, it feels sore in some places and sometimes knots in the muscle can develop. These knot are known as trigger points. The body feels pain that can range from mild discomfort or to the point that the body can’t move because of the pain.
Most of us attribute this to sore muscles to which we take pills, apply topical pain relievers or scented oils. But to be specific, when there are knots in the muscle, the problem is what’s known as a Myofascial Trigger Point. There are many factors that can lead to developing painful trigger points around the body and one of those factors could be caused by sleeping on a poor mattress. A good mattress can absorb the body’s pressure and disperse the weight while you sleep. Without a proper mattress, can pressure points lead to trigger points? Resulting in back pain, body pain or fibromyalgia? Let’s examine this issue. We have a list of the best rated mattress for pressure relief listed at the end of this article and you can find them listed on our website.
Myofascial Trigger Points
A myofascial trigger point is an irritable area in the fascia or connecting tissue surrounding the skeletal muscle or within the muscle fibers themselves. They manifest themselves as tender nodules composed of taut bands of muscle fibers that have contracted and failed to relax. The laymen’s term for trigger points are knots. The term “trigger point” first appeared around 1942, since touching the affected area would result in radiated pain and a reaction by the patient. More than one trigger point can occur at the same time and can happen anywhere on the body.
The characteristics of the myofascial trigger point include the following:
A small painful area of muscle tissue that’s not due to external injury, trauma, inflammation, degeneration or infection. Though if not treated, inflammation may occur and unlike external injuries, this is internal in nature.
The painful area is characterized by a small nodule that once stimulated or triggered, results in a twitch response by the patient.
The trigger point may palpitate and continue to radiate pain in the surrounding area and sometimes elsewhere.
There are two types of trigger points, active and latent. An active trigger point is a knot of muscle in various parts of the body. They are tender and cause pain in the area. A latent trigger point most often does not cause any pain unless it is press. Stress, overworked or pressure can activate a latent trigger point. Latent trigger can restrict muscle movement in the area.
What causes trigger points to happen?
Activities such as lifting something heavy, bad posture while sitting or standing, tension caused by emotional stress, injuries, inactivity, prolonged pressure on body parts while sleeping on a poorly designed mattress or sleeping on an old worn out mattress that does not provide pressure relief by dispersing weight evenly. Sleeping on a bad mattress is similar to the pressure of sitting in one place for long periods of time while not standing up enough to in order to relieve the pressure being placed on one’s rear end.
While researching this topic I learned that trigger points are experienced by people around the world including both Eastern and Western cultures. In the Philippines, alternative medicine practitioners call trigger points “lamig” or cold spots. People with “lamig” are advised to see a “hilot” or massage therapist in order to cure the trigger points and relieve bodily stress, thus curing or preventing other ailments.
Trigger points or knots are caused by the miscontraction of several muscle fibers in a certain area due to overwork and even stress from which the term ‘too wound up’ comes from. If you look closely into muscle fibers, these fibers are somewhat segmented (sarcomeres) like tiny springs allowing them to stretch and contract. Some of these sarcomeres fail to return to their normal state like defective slinkies, remaining stretched and contracted, affecting the other fibers around them. We know how problematic defective slinkies are. When enough fibers remain in this abnormal state, they become trigger points that end up restricting normal blood flow in the area and even accumulating cellular waste. The area of course becomes swollen and irritable manifesting as tender nodules. These nodules then affect or pull on the connecting tendons or ligaments (myofascia) around the muscle. These then trigger pain reactions either directly in, or in the surrounding muscle to which it is connected to. A problematic nodule below the shoulder can cause pain in the entire shoulder itself restricting movement.
Due to the internal nature of the problem and the mystery on the true cause of trigger points, the phenomenon borders on alternative medicine and is sometimes misdiagnosed through conventional means. As mentioned, even desk jockeys end up having these without having to do any strenuous physical work, adding to the mystery, so pain killers are often prescribed and not massage therapy which is how trigger points should really be treated. A simple massage can ease the tension on, or around the trigger point/s, but not really resolving them. So people resolve to various forms of alternative medicine such as acupressure, acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, shiatsu or massage therapy.
TIp #1 – Acupressure
What most of these therapies have in common is relaxation and the repeated application of finger pressure that can ease or solve trigger points. Acupressure is defined as an alternative medicinal technique that, similar to acupuncture, applies finger pressure instead of needles to know acupuncture points. These points, through which life energy flows through are known as meridians, which when blocked, results in many sorts of ailments such as and not limited to Common Cold, Migraine, Diabetes, Heart Attack, High Blood Pressure, Paralysis and even Cancer.
In a universally well-known blood-related horror franchise, blood is the stuff of life and proper blood flow, the proper supply of oxygen to cells is very important to the human body. Blood is life and energy which fits well with the concept of acupuncture and acupressure. The concept of restricted blood flow goes well with the concept of myofascial trigger points. Applying acupressure therapy in different parts of the body can relieve, release or totally cure trigger point problems. Coincidentally, over time, acupuncture/acupressure points may actually be identified common trigger point areas.
The theory to acupressure is that meridians, are connected to various organs f the human body as opposed to being directly connected to trigger points. Practitioners also use acupressure to diagnose the body organs that need attention based on pain diagnosis from the hands and feet. Patients can then see specialists related to the respective organs or proceed with acupressure procedures related to those organs.
Tip #2 – Shiatsu
Shiatsu is basically the Japanese equivalent of acupressure as this form of therapy makes use of finger pressure and no mechanical instrument whatsoever. Shiatsu literally means finger pressure though this form of massage therapy also makes use of feet, palms, assisted stretching and joint manipulation. Like acupressure, shiatsu also follows the theory of meridians as this technique has its roots in Chinese medicine.
“There is no scientific evidence to prove that shiatsu can cure or prevent any type of disease, including cancer. Also, a lack of high quality research so far means there is currently no scientific evidence to support the use of shiatsu for controlling cancer symptoms. This doesn’t mean that shiatsu doesn’t work in controlling symptoms or side effects, simply that it has not yet been tested properly.”
–Cancer Research UK
The key word to the previous statement though is control because finger pressure is one of the best ways in relieving myofascial trigger point that the therapist may chance upon. Trigger points may appear in short term or as a hidden, undiagnosed long term problem.
Tip #3 – Chiropractic Therapy
There’s nothing more satisfying, or terrifying than hearing one’s own bones crack but suddenly feeling an almost orgasmic form of relief. Chiropractic therapy involves the manipulation of the musculoskeletal system where practitioners perform adjustments to joints especially the spine in order to treat various ailments related to the nervous system. Though mostly described as a non-conclusive alternative form of medicine, many techniques and tools have been developed and many chiropractors mix these techniques together to achieve desired effects. These techniques include:
ergonomic and postural advice
self-care strategies, activities of daily living, changing risky/unhealthy behaviors
relaxation and stress reduction
ice pack and cryotherapy
and trigger point therapy
Another alternative form of therapy known as myofascial release. This form of therapy also involves applying gentle pressure but is actually targeted at the connective tissue between the muscles and the skeletal system in order to heal many ailments, including even cancer. Myofascial release claims to relieve what’s known as myofascial restrictions that limit one’s motion and induce body pain. Unlike massage treatments, myofascial release does not make use of tools, oils and creams and is directly hands on in order for the practitioner to accurately detect these restrictions.
4 Best Mattresses For Pressure Point Relief While Sleeping
Tip #4 – Massage Therapy
The techniques previously described are basically forms of, or make use of massage wherein the relaxed physical form is kneaded by a practitioner in order to release stress and tension in the subject’s muscles. Aside from releasing body stress and relaxing muscles, massages help improve the flow of blood in the human body. This makes massages the best way to heal or relieve the symptoms brought by myofascial trigger points.
In order to heal a trigger point, one needs the proper, continuous application of pressure to the affected area in order to relax and re-orient stretched or contracted sarcomeres in the muscle fibers. Our subconscious act of rubbing our temples, neck and back are natural reactions to relieve established or forming trigger points. It is a light form of self-myofascial release. But to get rid of established trigger points, it’s important to engage in any of the previously described massage therapies supported by your respective beliefs in the benefits of each.
Aside from the aforementioned techniques, there are many forms of massage therapy, scientific or otherwise that practitioners and clients deem to be effective. These include:
Craniosacral therapy – extremely satisfying especially for office workers
Foot Massage – for people always on their feet
Burmese massage – full-body massage based on acupressure and reflexology
Reflexology – is a technique of applying pressure solely to the feet and hands
Structural Integration – like myofascial release also involves myofascial manipulation
Swedish massage – the most common form of massage which can be one lightly or vigorously to reduce muscle pain and joint stiffness
Thai massage and Traditional Chinese Massage
Trigger Point Therapy – is a massage therapy completely dedicated and directed at suspected trigger points. This involves manual pressure, vibration and even injection of substances as part of treatment.
Professional care is important when it comes to having trigger points, even if you yourself are a professional practitioner. You can’t necessarily reach all of your back without the help of special devices nor can you trace those hidden trigger points all by your lonesome. Regular massage therapy is important in totally removing trigger points to truly allow freedom of movement and indirectly cure other ailments.
The main point is that it pays to visit the masseuse every once in a while, at least once a month is a bare minimum depending on the nature of your activities or if you occasionally employ self-myofascial release with the help of a partner or a massage stick.
Tip #5 – Massage Sticks
For easy to reach trigger points on the back or in the calves, you can use various massaging devices out there, the most popular of which is the rolling massage stick. Massage sticks are an economical alternative to regular therapy. The massage stick employs the principles of finger or thumb application through a series of flexible rollers on the massage stick. The stick often resembles a rolling pin that when applied to various parts of the body simulates a massage. Massage sticks provide immediate pain relief to people who engage in daily workouts, to athletes and to skilled workers. Unlike therapy, massage sticks offer a temporary relief or through continuous usage, provides many health benefits such as muscle flexibility, improved circulation flow, muscle pain reduction, muscle growth and repair and removal of lactic acid or other wastes accumulated within trigger points. Massage sticks come in various types and it’s best to research first before purchasing.
They often resemble a rolling pin that when applied to various parts of the body simulates a massage. These types of sticks provide quick relief to easy-to-reach areas but can go further if the user is flexible enough. But for others, these rolling pins just aren’t enough. Many trigger points are located in hard-to-reach areas in the back, thus the need to undergo various massage therapies. Some professionals self-medicate their trigger points through the use of a firm rubber ball by rolling their back against the wall. The ball continuously rolls over the offending trigger point until it’s treated.
But there are some massage sticks that come in odd shapes that follow the ball principle and offer additional features such as the Thera Cane Massager that doesn’t come with rollers but with treatment knobs or points to massage hard-to-reach areas. These massage sticks are for people who would prefer to self-medicate as they have neither time nor money to make regular visits to therapy clinics.
The Thera Cane Massager looks odd, but the procedures in the included booklet are simple enough to understand for effective use. It has six treatment balls at various points that help users eliminate painful muscle knots on their own at hard-to-reach places. The smooth knobs, unlike rollers on ordinary massage sticks apply pressure to specific points on the muscles to ease the tension, break up the adhesion of muscle fibers and allow the flow of oxygenated blood. The Thena cane is available at Amazon, much like almost everything else.
But the Thera cane is not alone with its odd cane shape and multiple ball rollers. Much like the pseudo-scientific nature of various massage therapies, the rather long-named Body Back Buddy Original Trigger Point Therapy Self Massage Tool takes the concept of the Thena Cane Massager to another level. This time, the Body Back Buddy is S-shaped, with two handles and eleven treatment knobs in order to treat more and to reach more parts of the body that can’t be reached by the Thera Cane Massager and even costs less when bought from Amazon. The theory of trigger point therapy has been around since 1942 while the Body Back Buddy has been around since 1995 pioneering the self-treatment of trigger points, and has had some improvements since then.
The Body Back Buddy weighs at 1.25 pounds which makes it suitable for the young and old. It’s also hypoallergenic, health and environment friendly being made from high-quality, high-density polyethylene but free from BPA, PBDE and TBBPA. It has a comprehensive instructional manual that will help users manage this massage stick’s rather intimidating appearance which should allow users to reach those hidden trigger points that professionals do. Speaking of professionals, the makers of the Body Back Buddy states that their tool is highly recommended by physical therapists, massage therapists and chiropractors to aid in home therapy. Body Back Buddy also advises against brittle cheap knock-offs by promoting its sturdy i-beam design against similar but purely cylindrical knockoffs that could easily bend and break. Its 11 treatment knobs are also slightly different from each other in order to treat various areas of the body with site-specific pointed types, dull types for the lumbar area while the others are targeted at the shoulders, back, neck and feet. The Body Back Buddy is applicable for therapies such as Myofascial Release, Trigger Point Therapy, and Deep Tissue Massage.
Now that you’re aware of trigger points, you’re one step closer to a life of less pain, less stress and better health depending on which treatment you can afford or are comfortable with but wait there is one more tip to consider.
Is Your Old Mattress Causing Pressure Pain & Trigger Points To Develop?
Tip #6 – Get A Better Mattress
Everyone knows if you sit too long in one position or stand too long or lay on a difficult surface very long the pressure on certain parts of the body begins to build up fast. Ever think about this pressure building up when you sleep in bed for 8 hours? The body pressure does build up while we sleep and this is one reason some people toss and turn a lot.
Do you wake up with a sore neck, hip or shoulder?
Getting a good mattress that can absorb the pressure and disperse the weight is a sound option for pressure relief. Check out these mattresses known for their pressure relief abilities.
Avocado Green Mattress
4 Best Mattresses For Trigger Point & Pressure Point Relief
Nectar Sleep https://www.nectarsleep.com
Signature Hybrid – https://www.brooklynbedding.com
Note: We are not doctors, scientists or healthcare professionals, we are journalists and writers providing information and opinions based on our own research and personal preferences. Please seek a doctor or healthcare professional for sleep and pain related issues.
Emily is the content director and a contributor with 10 Best Mattresses. Emily was born and raised in Texas. After college she taught English for one year in Japan. Emily is an advocate for getting a good night’s sleep and she is passionate about promoting the benefits of good sleep such as increased alertness, improved mood and increased energy.
There was a time Emily was having trouble getting the type of sleep she had while in her 20’s. This has happened to a lot of us, right? Anyway, after noticing her quality of sleep declining, including a period of insomnia, Emily started researching sleep and sleep topics. In addition to sleeping on a great mattress with great bedding, Emily has a night time routine that works for her. She says it’s a firm mattress, a good book, milk, magnesium and fish oil. Emily sleeps great every night and her smile shows it everyday!