Trigger Point Therapy

Another modality that I use throughout my sessions is called Trigger Point Therapy.  This body of knowledge was developed by JFK’s White House doctor, Janet Travell, MD.  In the 80’s she teamed up with a Navy surgeon, and together they mapped out the referred pain patterns throughout the entire body.  Basically, Trigger Point Therapy deals with pain that is actually being referred from another part of the body.  For example, after a whiplash from a car accident, there is often pain in the back of the neck.  Massaging the back of the neck may give temporary relief, but the pain usually returns.  That’s because the pain is actually coming from the muscles in the front of the neck that got tight from the whiplash.   In this situation, massaging the muscles in the front of the neck often relieves pain in the back of the neck.


Referred pain can often act like a very serious problem when it’s not medically serious at all. For example, referred pain in the wrist can seem like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, when in fact it may be from tight muscles near the elbow. Referred pain in the heel may appear to be Plantar Fasciitis, when it very well may be referred pain from a deep calf muscle. Another big complaint is lower back pain. I’ve found that most lower back pain is actually coming from tight belly muscles. Sounds crazy, but it’s usually the case. People are amazed when their lower back pain vanishes and I never touched their back! Of course, the pain may be more serious than a simple trigger point, and I will refer people to a doctor if this appears to be the case.