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Reverse Triggerpointing

Reverse Triggerpointing

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What is Reverse Triggerpointing? It is exactly what it says. It is the opposite of Triggerpointing.

“Triggerpointing” is when you apply pressure directly to the center of a Triggerpoint, trying to “deactivate” the pain signal and inflammation.

Reverse Triggerpointing is a technique that allows you to “deactivate” a Triggerpoint through other tissues related to that Triggerpoint. You never actually touch the triggered area but affect it greatly.

How is that possible? It is simple. All the body is doing is following a common law of physics that states:

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. (Newton’s third law of Physics)

Triggerpoints are the “reaction” to some other kind of “action”. If that “action” does not exist, neither does the “reaction”. A Triggerpoint does not occur without some action that creates it.

An “action” is always an area of non-moving tissue that can be right next to the triggered area or as far away as possible. The best part is that these areas are always predictable, just like the location of Triggerpoints. The “reactive” Triggerpoint is your clue to know which areas of “action” to work.

To understand this concept, we are going to define what a Triggerpoint is and then talk about how it fits in with what PPS defines as a Triggerpoint. It is really just a simple physics lesson of cause and effect.

What is a Triggerpoint?

Dr Janet Travell compiled two enormous volumes of work mapping out these areas starting in the 1940’s. We use these same maps today for “Triggerpointing” charts.

Defined: Myofascial triggerpoints, also known as triggerpoints, are described as hyperirritable spots in the fascia surrounding skeletal muscle. They are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers.[1] They are a topic of ongoing controversy, as there is limited data to inform a scientific understanding of the phenomenon.

The ongoing controversy is that scientists and doctors know they exist. What they still do not know is why they start, where they come from, or how to get rid of them permanently.

Triggerpoints are the Ultimate Tug-o-War

tug o war TP

Pain Patterns and Solutions (PPS) looks at a Triggerpoint not as a localized area of problem. We look at it as the result of a muscular system that cannot contract correctly. The “actions” of those muscles are not correct. Here comes your physics lesson.

Basically, the muscular system is a system of pulleys. Each of those pulleys work with each other for synchronized and fluid movement: like walking, swimming, throwing a football, etc. When the body becomes injured and is required to heal, those pulleys can become bound into the areas of injury and repair. Injury forms Scar Tissue and that tissue will bind to everything in the area it forms. The muscle(s) and other tissues become adhered together, typically anchored into any bones or hard structures in the surrounding area to create the greatest support. This formation of Scar Tissue, and how things become all stuck together, is what we call an “action”. A very common action occurs in the body.

Those bound muscles do not contract correctly and it changes how they “act”. All of the pulleys that worked together in that one area for synchronized movement are “off” in their motions. Those incorrect motions will produce a “reaction” somewhere within all the pulleys.

  1. This “reaction” occurred because of the how “action” changed.

Within the unsynchronized movement, a specific area of that system of incorrect pulleys is going to be placed under an enormous amount strain, friction, and force. The muscles bound with Scar Tissue will not be moving and therefore are not placed under strain. This specific area will always be the smallest and weakest link in that particular chain of pulleys.

For muscles, the weakest link is typically the smaller muscles – the smaller pulley. These small muscles do not have the strength, length, or ability to accommodate incorrect motions so they quickly become fatigued. When a muscle fatigues and can no longer function correctly, it will begin to tear. Pain is felt where the muscle tears and inflammation moves in quickly to isolate and begin repairing tissue. This is why you see more Triggerpoints in the small back muscles like the ones between your shoulder blades or low back and not your Quads. The Quads are big, the others are small and experience fatigue and strain more quickly.

Birth of a Triggerpoint

PPS defines this fatigued and strained area in the muscles as the PGS: the Point of Greatest Strain. The PGS is that hyperirritable and inflamed spot also known as a Triggerpoint.

In essence, when observing the chain reaction of events that create a Triggerpoint, they are the “reaction” to the “action” of Scar Tissue binding. This is literally hyper-motion fighting against lack of motion.

Triggerpoint Deactivation

True deactivation of a Triggerpoint in a muscle does not begin within the Triggerpoint itself. It starts by correcting its involvement in the muscle-pulley system. The ability to correct the pulley system begins at the site of Scar Tissue formation and binding.

You have to move outside of the muscular system and dive more into Scar Tissue restriction to see the whole picture. You have to look at the actions and reactions of several tissues and not just isolate the muscle to create a positive change.

The PPS Seminars series of classes teach you how to utilize Triggerpoints to understand where the pulley system is not working correctly. These points are actually clues as to where to go perform massage to correct the system. That is how you utilize the Reverse Triggerpointing Technique.

Just as Triggerpoints are repeatable from client to client, the techniques you learn to deactivate those points are repeatable from client to client as well.

To learn a few key pieces to this deactivation process, go to our website at:

View 2 free videos on how to deactivate the Rhomboid Trigger points (upper back) and Quadratus Lumborum Trigger points (lower back) by working on specific areas of the IT Band.

Start creating true change in the muscles by understanding how to work with action and reaction!

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