Question: I would like to know more about adverse mechanical tension physiotherapy. I read an article on the rsi/uk web page about it. I have pain in all of my scapular area travelling down my arm to my hand. I am an artist. Also does trigger point therapy really work? I am going to a Physical Therapist who uses this technique. How long before I should feel some relief, I’ve been 5 times. Should I stop painting altogether?
Answer: Has your Physical Therapist taught you stretches to do at home? From my reading of J. Travell (Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction. The trigger point manual – the original work on trigger points), as well as having the trigger points treated by your Physical Therapist (by pressing on them, injecting anaesthetic or coolant sprayed on the area and then passive stretching of the muscle with the trigger points) you need to reduce or stop the action that caused the trigger points in the first place. You also need to do passive stretching of the muscle with the trigger points.
Adverse mechanical Tension (or Adverse Neurological Tension) physiotherapy involves stretching muscles in the arms and shoulders to release the tethered nerves. As there are only so many ways of stretching the muscles in the body, the stretches for AMT/ANT are the same as those used for some trigger points. If the treatment of trigger points is not working tell your Physical Therapist, as they may not be finding all the trigger points.
Also ask them about Adverse Neurological Tension stretches. If the treatment of trigger points is done properly (if you have them) you should get immediate relief.Although I only get a mild case of trigger points in my shoulders, I find that stretching the muscles involved (in my case the trapezius) and the opposing muscles (the pectorals) plus massage is enough to keep my trigger points under control. Bare in mind that anyone sitting at a desk will have some trigger points in their shoulders, they are just not ‘active’.