Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger Point Therapy is also called the Nimmo Receptor-Tonus Method or Myofascial Therapy. This is a soft tissue technique that focuses on trigger points. Trigger points are hyperirritable spots (sensitive and contracted) in skeletal muscle that are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers. Trigger points are a common cause of pain. Trigger points may elicit local tenderness or refer pain to distant locations. Trigger points are generally located through palpation (feeling) examination.

Repetitive motions, prolonged muscle contraction, and trauma are all ways that a muscle can form a trigger point. A trigger point forms when a muscle is torn or over-contracted for a long period of time. Spinal misalignment and pinched nerves also can cause trigger points to occur.

Diagram of trigger points used by Novato chiropractor james whittlesey DC

When a muscle tears or is over-contracted it will reflexively contract to prevent further tearing. It will contract so hard that it will establish a neurological pathway between itself and the spinal cord. It is this pathway that will perpetuate the muscle spasm and keep it going. In addition the local blood supply is cut off causing a build up of metabolic waste products that further irritate the muscle. The Nimmo technique cuts off the neurological input that perpetuates the muscle spasm and increases blood flow to the area which decreases inflammation and allows the muscle to relax. The technique gets the muscle or muscles out of the pattern of spasm and inflammation which balances out the body and allows the muscles to heal properly and reduce pain.

The application of Trigger point therapy or Nimmo Technique usually involves applying direct pressure on the point(s) for 8 to 15 seconds thus allowing the muscle to relax and acquire its normal length and relaxation tone. The amount of pressure used is dependent on patient tolerance.

Reducing trigger points allows the bone to which the muscle attaches to move normally to restore proper joint function. This helps the adjustment to work better. I am one of the few Novato Chiropractors who employ this method in conjunction with adjustments.

Here is a great website with more information on trigger point therapy and myofascial therapy:

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      I was constantly in pain.  The pain was in my neck and back.  My results have been EXCELLENT.  I can do almost anything I want to do and not be in terrible pain.  I think Dr. Whittlesey is excellent.  I will recommend him to everybody.

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