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Trigger points and flexability

Through years of not stretching i’ve found myself with less than the optimum range of motion about all my joints. Now this is becoming a real problem and causing injuries as well as other complications like a stiff neck and headaches etc.

I have included stretching in all my workouts pre and post for the last six months but i don’t seem to have made any progress with flexability.

Recently i have read about trigger point therapy and that trigger points can cause reductions in range of motion and make your muscles resistant to traditional stretching until the trigger points have been dealt with.

I'd like to believe this as it gives me hope that i can get back to full fitness but i wondered if anyone else has been in a similar situation or used trigger point therapy successfully?

Any help you guys can give would be great as i’m losing my motivation to train (haven’t trained for three weeks now) and the stiff neck, back and headaches are making everyday life a grind.


What stretching have you done? For how long? For starters why don’t you try John Davies stretching prog. in “injury proof athlete” (or something like that). If you are having problems with your neck and such, the problem is often that of muscle impalances, ie. too much chest and not enough scapular retracting. Not knowing any more than what you listed about your self I would recommend you try Ian King’s (if you haven’t already) 12-week superstrength and limping programs. Me personally I like to do 5-10 min os aerobics, then stretch 10-20 before my workouts, then 5-10 stretching after. Best of luck.

I hate to sound like the ART poster boy, but after what I experienced, I truly believe it to be a good thing. Increasing range of motion is one of the great benefits of ART. I wish I could show you the diffence it has made for my shoulder. Its amazing.

The stretching i’ve been doing is 10 mins static stretching before a workout (after warming up on some CV equipment) and the same or longer after the workout (Ian Kings lazy mans guide to stretching is the basis for this).

I’ll check out the articles suggested but by muscles really seem to resist traditional stretching and i thing i’ll have a dabble with trigger point therapy and see if anything happens.

As for ART i’d love to try it but it hasn’t made its way ‘over the pond’ to the UK yet, i’ve checked.

Anyone else got any experience of these kind of probs?

You may need more than stretching. See if you can incorporate some regular massage for the area, in case none of the above options gives you any benefits.

One treatment with triggerpoints and massage made my neck behave as a normal neck should do, my lower back and left hip took two treatments to get up to around 95 % of normal flexibility.
As a side note: You could also do a lot of more stretching on your own.

Since you don’t have ART, chiropracter may also hep you.I was againstg seeing them, but after having my back work on I have changed my mind. As far as stretching, after your warm up and initial stretching do some dynamic stretching, followed by more static stretching, you should see an immediate increase in flexibility.

I’ve added twice weekly accupuncture+shiatsu massage sessions. It took about three weeks to achieve balance in my body, but it has done wonders. I have some curvature in my spine and he’s been working that out through massage. The accupuncture has reduced my muscle stiffness in my neck and given me additional range of motion. It’s really good. But you might have to look around a bit to find a good practioner, the more manual the technique, the better.

Like others have pointed out, you need to stretch more. 10min pre and post is probably okay for warmup and cool down, but to increase flexibility, you should consider adding one or two specialized flexibility sessions a week (e.g.60min). I know it’s hard enough finding time to lift, let alone stretch, but you need to make it a priority. Ian emphasizes this a lot in his seminar videos. I also think trigger point work will help because you need to optimize muscle tension, otherwise your muscles will fight you during the stretching. ART is great, but not an everyday thing. I would highly recommend the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook, which you can get from Amazon or EliteFitness. I teaches self-applied trigger point technqiues for just about every muscle in the body. It’s a wonderful investment. I recommend it for everyone reading this forum, simply as a method to enhance recovery. Recovery work (stretching and soft tissue work) should be given equal priority to training. Don’t add training if you can’t match it with equal recovery work. And if time constraints reduce the amount of time you can spend on recovery, then cut your training to match. I think Charlie Francis and Ian King would back me up on this.

I agree with the others on stretching. However, you need to understand your muscle imbalances and this will dictate stretching priorities. Also, Ian King states that you need to hold a static stretch for a minimum of 2 minutes to improve flexibility (muscle length).

Cheers guys,

I’ve picked up a copy of the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook and a TheraCane (strange tool but allows you to access all muscles by yourself). The book seems to suggest that my main problem is ‘too much chest and not enough scapular retracting’ as suggested earlier in this post. I’ve had a few goes releasing trigger points in the traps and that has eased the neck up quite a bit but i think the chest will be the main focus next.

I think i’ll keep off the training for another couple of weeks and get some serious trigger point and stretching work in to release some of this excess tension, training will just probably put me in a ‘one step forward one step back’ situation. I need to concentrate on fixing the problems rather than worrying about how much gym time i’m missing, the rest will probably do me good!

Again thanks for your replies, it’s good to know that people have had success with the techniques mentioned.

Maybe i’ll post again in a few weeks and let you know how i got on.