Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne,EdgecliffMarrickville,Bella Vista, Randwick, Lindfield and Balmain look at the trigger points and self-massage therapy.

Do you have a sore, tight or spot on your body that causes you pain and grief throughout your day? Have you tried different stretches trying to relieve it, only for it to return again the next morning? If you do, then you are not alone. Like pimples, almost everyone gets these spots, but some people get worse and more of them. They can cause pain, weakness and decreased range of motion—often due to overuse of muscle, trauma or accident, structural imbalance and lack of physical activity.


Introducing the topic of the ‘trigger point’. A trigger point is a spot within a tight band of muscle that is sensitive to pressure (i.e. hyperirritable). They often accompany musculoskeletal disorders and can also manifest as tension headaches, tinnitus, joint pain and lower back pain.

How does a trigger point form?

A lot of factors can lead to a trigger point forming, such as muscular strain, injury, or overuse, poor exercise technique, working or sleeping habits and poor posture. These can all lead to tight ‘knots’ developing, whereby individual muscle fibers are over-stimulated and unable to release their contracted state. This contraction reduces blood flow, resulting in a reduced supply of oxygen and a build-up of metabolic waste. The contracted muscle (trigger point) reacts by sending out signals of pain.

Now to the important question…

What can you do about it?

A technique that I constantly use with great success is self-massage therapy. It is cheap, easy and effective at managing your muscle pain –although only in the short-term (more on this later), especially when you cannot afford other treatment methods like manual therapy or dry needling.

How to do self-massage therapy:

– Talk to a Longevity Exercise Physiologist for how to locate and release trigger points!

– Grab a tennis or massage ball (ask us where to get them!). Position it between yourself and a hard surface such as the floor or the wall.

– Push against the ball so that there is direct pressure on the area of muscle. Hold for anywhere between 30 seconds to several minutes. Repeat this 5-6x per day and form it part of your daily routine.

– You should be applying enough pressure so that you feel a ‘good pain’. If it is extremely painful or hurts,

chances are that you are pushing too hard or the ball needs to be softer.

What does this do?

Direct application of sustained pressure to a muscle increases blood flow to the fibers and allows it deactivate, release and relax. This interrupts the pain-spasm cycle and stops the contraction of the muscle, thereby alleviating the pain. The state of the muscle is then normalised and is brought to a healthy state for a while.

Self-massage therapy is one of the simplest yet effective ways to reduce muscular pain and discomfort. However, research has shown that if done only on its own, the positive effects are only short-term.

For you to have long-term, sustained improvements, self-massage therapy needs to be coupled with a regular exercise routine.

It is also important that it is done consistently (not just during a flare up) for you to have long-term relief. Exercise is a necessity because your body need to be trained, strengthened and mobilised in a way that prevents the problem from happening again.

Imagine that you have thick, tall weeds growing in your front lawn. Sure, you can mow the lawn each week and your garden will look better for a while, but the weeds will just keep growing back. What you would want to do is to pull the weeds out from the roots to get rid of the problem for good—and then eventually, grow flowers or trees that bear fruit to make a beautiful garden. This principle is the same as when you combine exercise with self-massage therapy—get to the root of the problem to achieve the best sustainable outcome that you want.

Call 1300 964 002 to speak to a Longevity Exercise Physiologist today!


Written By Jackie Cheung