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Muscle Activation Technique vs. Trigger Point Therapy

author image Eliza Martinez
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.
Muscle Activation Technique vs. Trigger Point Therapy
Treating muscle pain makes daily life and exercise more comfortable. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Your muscles are vital in supporting normal body movement and exercise. If you suffer from muscle pain or decreased function, treatment can improve quality of life as well as increase your muscles' ability to work properly. Muscle Activation Techniques and trigger point therapy are two forms of treatment for different muscle conditions. Consult your doctor before using either.

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Muscle Activation Techniques treat different problems than trigger point therapy and the correct choice increases the chances of successfully eliminating your condition. Muscle Activation Techniques, designed to improve muscle imbalances, can improve overall function. It is also used to lengthen the careers of athletes who use the same muscle groups for extended time periods. In contrast, trigger point therapy, a form of alternative medicine, is used to alleviate the pain associated with knots in your muscles.


Muscle Activation Techniques and trigger point therapy involve stimulating the affected muscles by a professional trained in the specific treatment. During trigger point therapy, trigger points are manipulated and massaged in a systematic order to relieve the pain and discomfort that occurs with tight muscles, including those in your back and shoulders. Muscle Activation Techniques uses a similar approach, in that your various muscles are treated in a specific order. The theory is that your muscles, being connected to your nervous system, need to work in harmony to prevent reduced function in certain areas of your body. With Muscle Activation Techniques, muscle problems are not massaged away, but rather treated through specific manual therapy. By working these muscles with Muscle Activation Techniques, you allow the therapist to harmonize your entire body, improving the function of your muscles as a whole.


While Muscle Activation Techniques and trigger point therapy were designed for different conditions, the benefits are similar. Both alleviate pain and discomfort and improve flexibility and range of motion. Continued treatment may make your muscles feel looser and more fluid and prevent aggravating old injuries to your muscles and joints. Both types of therapy can improve your posture. Neither makes use of medication.


The decision to use Muscle Activation Techniques or trigger point therapy involves assessing your symptoms. If you suffer from tight muscles due to long hours at the computer, headaches, back pain, strain injuries, foot pain or hip pain, trigger point therapy might be the best choice. If performance in a sport or workout you have done often for many years has dropped, Muscle Activation Techniques might be a better choice. If your flexibility and range of motion are decreasing with age, Muscle Activation Techniques may be able to improve the issues.

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