Trigger Point Release
Trigger points are palpable knots in muscle tissue. The presence of trigger points in a muscle can cause pain and shortening of the muscle (called hypertonicity). Hypertonicity is excessive muscle tone (firmness) compared to how a normal, resting muscle feels to the touch.
Trigger point release involves the stimulation of Golgi Tendon Organs (GTO’s). GTO’s are a type of sensory receptor found in muscles. There are multiple GTO’s in each muscle of the body, located near the muscle-tendon junction, and their function is to inhibit muscle contraction when the muscle fibers are stretched past a certain point. In essence, GTO’s decrease muscle tension and promote muscle relaxation. In contrast, alpha motor neurons stimulate the muscle to increase tension by contracting. When a muscle gets too tense, GTO’s fire, turning off the alpha motor neurons and decreasing tension in the muscle. This releases trigger points and encourages relaxation.
A good analogy for this system is to imagine a muscle having two switches, one switch that turns the muscle on (alpha motor neuron) and a second switch that turns the muscle off (GTO’s). Imagine a person who sits hunched over his or her computer for many hours every day. The alpha motor neurons of the muscles associated with this posture are constantly switched on, and the improper posture becomes habitual for the nervous system. Continuous activation of these muscles over time causes myriad impairments including soft tissue pain, muscle strain, scar tissue formation, increased muscle tension, trigger points, fascia restriction, and limited range of motion.
Trigger Point Release and ASTR
Advanced Soft Tissue Release (abbreviated as ASTR) is a new manual therapy specialty that is revolutionizing the way patients experience long-term pain relief. The ASTR specialty includes techniques for neuromuscular re-education as it stimulates the Golgi Tendon Organs of muscles to decrease muscle hypertonicity and release trigger points. ASTR treats pain in a gentle, effective, and natural way, and takes a holistic approach to address the root causes of pain, not just the symptoms. Many patients experience relief from pain after their first treatment! Learn how ASTR can help you or watch testimonial videos from patients who experienced pain relief through ASTR treatment.