This paper includes comments and questions from
the lecture audience, as well as descriptions of the demonstrations.
The comments, questions, and descriptions are presented in brackets
[ ]. New data added after the lecture are also presented in brackets.
Thank you for inviting me to speak here today. I appreciate
the opportunity to describe an acupressure approach that combines
western and eastern pressure point therapy, an approach that offers
an exciting option for treating myofascial pain.
Janet Travell made an enormous contribution to our
understanding of myofascial pain. With her discoveries, we expanded
the model of myofascial pain to include trigger points. I hope that
today you will come to believe that it is once again time to expand
Travell proved that a major cause of myofascial pain
is one or more trigger points in the muscle. A trigger point can
(a) shorten and or (b) weaken the muscle. A trigger point usually
lies within a taut band of a muscle, which prevents the muscle from
achieving full length. Achieving full muscle length is key to the
release of a trigger point.
I find that the best way to release a trigger point,
and therefore end a patient's myofascial pain, is to hold a trigger
point with an acupuncture point, and to have the patient stretch
through the trigger point, an approach I call Tandem Point therapy.
It is a fast, effective, reproducible method of releasing trigger
points. This approach also provides some intriguing insights into
why acupuncture might be effective. From time to time I will demonstrate
techniques, so if any of you have upper body pain issues, I would
appreciate your volunteering to be a model.
The great advantage of Tandem Point therapy over acupuncture
is that the clinician holds the trigger point throughout the approach
and can determine immediately whether applying pressure to an acupuncture
point is helping to release the trigger point. If the trigger point
is releasing, it will soften and frequently heat. If the trigger
point is not releasing, another acupuncture point can be held. Dozens
of likely points can be tried in one session. The clinician can
experiment to determine what works clinically. Tandem Point therapy
works when other manual approaches fail. It works even when a pain
pattern involves integrated agonist-antagonist syndromes that are
problematic for techniques such as strain/counterstrain.
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