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Moonduck
Mar 03, 2007, 10:14 PM
"The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook"
by Clair Davies, N. C. T. M. B.

This workbook is an instructional manual intended to educate the layman on how to overcome soft-tissue pain through manual manipulation, ie self-massage. Trigger Points, as Mr. Davies identifies them, are knots of muscle that are contracted and will not relax. They cause pain in soft-tissues and frequently "refer" pain to other areas of the body. It is Mr. Davies premise that referred pain from trigger points is one of the most common causes of pain in soft-tissues (and elsewhere), period.

The book is very clear and accessible, full of good illustrations and techniques. The massage techniques frequently require nothing more than your own hands and body, or a tennis ball or something similar. He does use a Thera-cane and Knobble at various points, but gives alternative to their use.

In short, the book identifies various trigger points (and the list is exhaustive), where those trigger points refer pain to, and how to manually release those points. It also has excellent cross-reference indexes in each chapter to show which points may be referring pain to a specific area.

I got interested in trigger points after reading an article on foam-rolling on T-nation (http://www.t-nation.com/). I was interested enough in the recovery potential of the foam roller that I went out and bought one. They're dead cheap, and stunningly effective on large muscle soreness and pain.

Unfortunately, the foam roller is fairly imprecise, and not terribly effective on many of the smaller problem areas that crop up in regular exercise. Doing research on more focused techniques, I found reference to this book. Mr Davies maintains a website (http://www.triggerpointbook.com/) that lists a number of his techniques for free.

The book is invaluable though, as the list of trigger points is far more extensive and the technique notes are extremely useful. I've suffered from a recurring problem in my left elbow for almost six months now. I've seen two doctors in relation to this problem, and been told Medial Epicondylitis twice, even though I failed the ME tests both times. Reading the Trigger Point workbook, I found a number of areas that could be referring pain to this spot. In my case, it was a trigger point in the lower end of the outer tricep head on that arm.

After working the trigger point out (with my knuckles supported by a tennis ball on my desktop), the pain in my elbow entirely disappeared. It comes back occasionally when I work that elbow heavily, but reapplication of the release technique is enough to drive it away. In this case, it is not the technique failing. It is just continued exercise/abuse causing the problem to reoccur. With the trigger point technique, however, I can easily treat the problem and continue to train how I wish.

Secondly, I recently overdid things with a set of squats, and an old knee injury flared up. Years back, this injury was bad enough, and confusing enough (an MRI showed nothing), that my orthopedist decided to just scope the knee. He found my plica inflamed and some scar tissue building up. He removed the scar tissue, but said it would come back eventually, requiring more surgery. The surgery didn't really fix the problem, but it did make it better.

From the type of pain I was experiencing, I'd assumed that the plica problem was back. This is extremely disheartening, as nothing worked last time aside from surgery, and that worked poorly. After suffering for a few days and debating whether or not to see a doc, I decided to check the trigger point book. I figured there was an off chance that this pain might be trigger point related, and I found reference to it in a few minutes. Another couple of minutes worth of massaging the muscles at the back of my knee and the top of my calf, and the pain in my knee is 95% gone. Yes, a few minutes worth of work compared to a 6 hour surgery and weeks in Physical Therapy. Was it the same problem exactly? I don't know, all I know is that it hurt the same. Was my previous problem a trigger point issue? Again, I don't know, but the pain was the same...

In short, go out and buy this book. Seriously. 90%+ of the people reading this review exercise, and 90% of those people have nagging aches and pains as a result. You may even be one of those people with a persistent shoulder problem or "trick" knee. Is this book going to fix your problem? I have no idea, but it sure did great things for me. And as it is not an expensive book (got mine second-hand), it was an incredibly inexpensive course of treatment for me. The previous treatment for the knee problem wa sin excess of $10k, versus about $10-20 for this book and less than $30 for a foam roller and a selection of tennis and lacrosse balls.

I find myself wondering now if that surgery could've been avoidable. Mr Davies makes that very claim in the book, saying that a lot of orthopedic surgeries are entirely unneeded, and that greater knowledge of myofascial release techniques would greatly advance orthopedic medicine. I don't know. I'm neither an orthopedist nor a massage therapist like Mr Davies. All I know is that his techniques in this book have effectively solved some unpleasant recurring pain issues that I've been heretofore working through and trying to ignore.

I am in no way associated with this author, publishing company, nor any website linked. I am simply some guy that read this book and benefited from the techniques within.


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((If this would go better in "Injury/medical", please feel free to move it.)

cheesedog
Mar 04, 2007, 07:16 PM
Thanks for the book review, Moonduck. Definitely some fascinating information. I'll be sure to check this book out at the first opportunity.