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In the last post, I mentioned a few things about foam rolling.  It began a series of questions, one of which I would like to address. 

Foam rolling because you have an area that is painful may be a waste of your time.

In the Myofascial world, it is important to know about a few painful areas, especially the ones referred to as trigger points.  A trigger point can develop in a muscle and fascia.  It is a painful “hot spot” usually accompanied by a pain pattern. 

Myofascial Trigger points develop in several different ways.  A few are:

     A direct injury.

     Repetitive use.

     A sustained load on a muscle, including inactivity of muscles.

     Emotional stress.

     Compensation in posture due to an injury or workstation.

Myofascial Trigger Points come in two varieties

The first is the ones you can feel, Active Trigger Points.  These are the ones people are foam rolling away in health clubs across America … or are they?  More on that later.

The second type of trigger points are there but you don’t know it until they are depressed.  They are Latent Trigger Points.  Unlike Active Trigger Points,  most people don’t know they exist and therefore do nothing about them. Problem one, two types of trigger points present themselves differently.

The next problem is the Trigger Point Pain Patterns.  Trigger Points often have very specific pain patterns.  Look at these three examples (Muscle Trigger Points, Real Bodywork app) and notice that the “x”, the trigger point, and that the blue highlighted pain pattern is AND is not in the same area.

So ….  What if the problems your experiencing has nothing to do with the trigger points you feel?   What if the problem is a Latent type trigger point that you can’t feel?  What if the pain is actually part of the pain pattern?

These are problems.  Put simply, you could be like a cat chasing its tail,  spending a lot of energy but getting nowhere.  Roll, roll, rolling and rolling nowhere.

What should you do?

Why waste your time?  Seek out a professional Myofascial Therapist that understands trigger points and their pain patterns.  Maybe rolling is not the solution?  Maybe there are other issues?  If it is a trigger point  … Why did you get one in the first place?  Is it an injury or a postural problem or a poor workstation? 

If you are in MN, check out my website at MapleGroveMassage.com I am confident I can help you.  If not, search out a Myofascial Therapist before rolling away to nowhere.