I was lying face down on my stomach while my girl dug the point of her elbow into my shoulder blade. I had tried returning to the gym, only to be crippled by a high school football injury. “It’s just a pinched nerve,” some moronic coach told me when my entire right arm went numb during practice
The “pinched nerve” would resurface whenever I’d begin strength training. I was out of the gym for a year or two until learning something doctors didn’t – that there was a solution to a debilitating problem.
What doctors and other quacks call “pinched nerves,” “tendonitis,” and other nonsensical terms are more often compacted muscle tissue that can be unknotted. You just need a workbook, a tennis ball (you later graduate to a lacrosse ball), and a willingness to undergo extreme short-term pain in order to relieve chronic nagging pain.
When there’s trauma to the body, muscles stop firing. When muscles stop firing, painful knots begin the form. What’s worse is that these knots start pulling the rest of the body out of alignment.
The body is a unit. Everything is connected. A tight subscapularis leads to tennis elbow, which leads to carpal tunnel syndrome.
A piano maker turned physical therapist, Clair Davies wrote The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief (Second Edition) after observing and experiencing chronic pain. He learned that pain is caused by “trigger points” within muscles.
The workbook explains the cause of numerous ailments. Headaches are often caused by trigger points, although most of my injuries are from the gym and using a laptop.
Trigger point therapy – also called “self-myofascial release” – has changed my life. I recently had a shoulder impingement that kept me from doing overhead presses. After some painful sessions with a lacrosse ball, it was better.
There are specific tools the trigger point therapists recommend:
- Trigger Point Performance Self Myofascial Release Starter Set (here)
- Theracane (here)
- Triggerwheel (here)
- Trigger Point Performance The Grid Revolutionary Foam Roller (here)
I have all of those toys but actually prefer this lacrosse ball and good old fashioned foam rolling.
On my off day I’ll often go into the gym just to foam roll and do self-myofascial release. When I feel an injury come on, then I do short bouts of trigger point therapy several times a day. (Each “session” only takes 15-30 seconds.)
If your body is screwed up, look into trigger point therapy. You won’t regret it.
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