By Ron Haselhorst of Richard Wolf Medical Instruments Corporation
I never wanted to be a poster child for myofascial pain. No one does. It is so easy to say, “I’ll take few Advils and this pain in my shoulder (or back or foot) will go away or lessen to the point I can ignore it.” It is after all the American way of treating chronic myofascial pain. When did we start considering over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs treats anyway?
There are a number of different types of trigger points. The most widely understood and discussed are active and latent trigger points. Active trigger points are trigger points that cause or refer pain. An active trigger point may be the source of intense pain or a minor discomfort that may restrict your movement. Active trigger points are sometimes confused with attachment trigger points occur where muscle tissue connects to the bone. An attachment trigger point can be the source of tendinitis or is often the result of pain from a recent acute injury. A latent trigger point is a trigger point that no longer causes noticeable discomfort. Latent trigger points are often artifacts of previous injuries that have healed and are only noticeable when pressure is applied to those points. Latent trigger points if not taken care of can sometimes become active trigger points once again.
Trigger point therapy is any number of treatments that one can get to resolve taunt muscular fibers sometimes called muscle knots (trigger points) that restrict your full range of movement. The causes are many but generally these taunt bands are the result of an injury or reaction to some repetitive movement that you might assume are the result of just getting old. Some trigger point therapies include massage, acupuncture, hot and cold compresses, stretches or exercise that return the range motion and reduce pain. Other trigger point therapies engage the use of tools or various other medical devices to produce the desired effect more quickly or efficiently or even simply enhance the manual therapies outcomes.
As one might suspect trigger point therapy techniques and their applications and their effectiveness are as varied as the clinician who provides them. One of the impressive things about the WellWave is that it allows less experienced practitioners to be more effective because it is easy to target the energy to the trigger point and its intensity can be controlled. Many deep tissue massage therapists can get the same results as the WellWave but not as quickly and not without a fair amount of physical effort. For this reason even an experienced massage therapist might consider the WellWave.
About the author:
With over 30 years experience, Ron’s career has encompassed all facets of the medical device industry from production, quality and regulatory, through research and marketing. Ron became involved in the WellWave product during a visit to the Richard Wolf World Headquarters in Knittlingen, Germany. During a tour of the R & D facility, a technician demonstrated a WellWave product and he was immediately intrigued and inquired why it was not marketed in the US. His shoulder which had bothered him for years, in spite of a rotator cuff surgery, was noticeably better almost immediately. He was told that Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy was not reimbursed by insurance companies in the US and the market was very limited. Since that decision was made in 2002, the nature of healthcare had changed and with acceptance of alternative pain relief modalities, Ron persuaded Richard Wolf Medical Instrument Corporation (US branch of Richard Wolf) to bring the WellWave device to the US. Ron was surprised to find that trigger point therapy that is so widely accepted in the EU was so misunderstood and ignored as a myofascial pain reduction alternative in the US. In the last year, he spent time working with noted trigger point therapists and chiropractors working to promote the benefits of the WellWave to simply and effectively produce the positive pain reliving effects of a deep tissue massage, stretches, and strengthening exercises