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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook (book review)

I just wrote this review for the Barefoot Runners Society forums, and thought I'd post it here too. I've already written about the book on this blog, but this review goes into a little more detail.


I just got this book, and I LOVE it:

Trigger points are (and this is very much an unscientific layman's explanation!) these little tight spots in your muscles that tend to cause referred pain. Sometimes it hurts where the trigger point is, but often it hurts somewhere else. Muscles and tendons and bones are all connected so sometimes the area that is hurting isn't actually the area that needs to be worked on. Trigger points can be gotten rid of over time with targeted massage, and this book helps you FIND the trigger points and shows HOW to do self-massage on them.

I've written a lot here about how much I love my foam roller. But this book is helping me make better use of the roller, and showing me other ways to find and work on trigger points.


Example 1: my IT band seems to be my biggest recurring problem area. I get various trigger points in my upper legs and/or hips, and that makes my IT band tighten and gives me that distinct pain on the outside of my knee.

I was working on some areas I'd found (upper thighs/hips) with my roller but was having trouble really getting past the issue this time. This book suggests using a ball (I use a tennis or golf ball) to massage the side of the hips/glutes against a wall. I followed their advice to put the ball in a sock so I could hold the end of the sock, and so if I dropped the ball it didn't roll away. Using this technique, I immediately was able to target those sore spots SO much better than with my foam roller. My IT band seems to be doing really well now. (I also used some KT Tape on it for my last long run, which may have also helped.)

Example 2: After a 5-mile run last week the back of my left knee was sore. I really didn't know how to get rid of it. This book helped me find some deep trigger points behind my knee and at the very top of the back of my calf, points that weren't being targeted with my foam roller. I was able to work specifically on those points, and my knee pain didn't last long. I was able to do my 9 miler on Saturday without having any major issues in that area.


I still love my foam roller and am using it to work on various trigger points and just general sore spots. But this book is helping me be more targeted in working out my pain. Because I'm training for a race, I'm pushing my body more than it's comfortable with right now. I've cut down my mileage a bit, but I still get sore as my body adjusts to these longer runs. I'm a DIY type when it comes to running pains, so I love that this book helps me keep going instead of my aches and pains getting the better of me!

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