What is a Trigger Point?
A Trigger Point is a spot in your muscle that has gotten irritated and forms a tight balled up part of the muscle. Trigger points are painful to touch or at least when moderate pressure is applied. When your muscles have bad trigger point or lots of trigger points in them, they can become tight overall and pull on the tissues and joints they are connected to.
Trigger points can often be treated so they go away completely and changes in body mechanics, stretching, and massage can keep them from coming back.
There are a bunch of common places where trigger points form. The first place I learned about is the calf muscles. My calf muscles were very tight and had a few different trigger points in them. Andrea taught me that if I press on the trigger points and massage them they will hurt, but afterward they will feel more relaxed. Sometimes you have to push hard enough that the muscle becomes inflamed for a few days in order to make a change in the tissue, but I recommend starting with light pressure and seeing it that helps.
Another common place to have a trigger point is in your upper trapezius. You will commonly see people massaging the area where the trapezius meets the upper shoulder. If you have a desk job and your upper body posture is not good, you will probably have an insanely tight upper trapezius with plenty of trigger points in it.
Since you should not be harboring pain, trigger points should be addressed. Ideally, all of your muscles will not have any painful regions in them when you massage them. It is amazing to feel how different your calf muscle can feel if you go from having lots of tightness to having a supple and smooth muscle. It can almost turn into an obsession to clean out all of the trigger points that are in your muscles.
Be careful and go easy at first. If you go too hard. you can bruise your muscles or cause a nasty inflammation that makes the muscles tense up even more. After you have worked on an area, give it a chance to rest and recover before going at it again. Also, keep in mind that maintaining your muscles can take less time than waiting for trigger points to build up and get worse before working on them.