Friday 23rd September, 2022

The simple effective way to treat trigger points yourself

Trigger point pain
In this article we show you a simple, effective way to treat this yourself

If you’ve got painful trigger points your usual options are needles, laser or some form of pressure technique where you have pressure applied until it fades. These can be expensive, painful, and if you’ve had trigger points long enough you’ll understand that the pain usually comes back again.

In this article we’ll show you an easy, painless way you can treat trigger points yourself. It is at least as effective as the other options at relieving pain, but because you can easily do it yourself you can easily do some ongoing maintenance after the pain goes so you never have pain again.

The easy effective trigger point therapy: vibration massage

The simple, effective trigger point therapy is using vibration massage. This is where the head of a vibration massager is placed over the trigger point, allowing the therapeutic vibrations to penetrate and have their effect. For why this therapy is so effective please see our article What is the best treatment for trigger points. we show how to do this in the video below, and the advantages of vibration massage are:

  1. the vibrations are scientifically proven to have excellent therapeutic effects, and
  2. because it’s the vibrations that penetrate rather than needing physical penetration,
  • the vibrations can penetrate much deeper to get at the hard to get at spots
  • the is usually no pain
  • there is far less risk of causing any damage or injury
  • there is no special skill needed so you can easily do it yourself.
The scientifically proven effects of vibration massage

Video summary

Vibration massage allows you to stop the trigger point pain from coming back

As discussed in our article Why trigger point pain keeps coming back the reason trigger point pain keeps coming back is that therapies usually just quieten down the trigger points so they stop hurting. The trigger points are still there so they eventually start hurting again. What you need to do is keep at them after the pain stops so they continue to fade away. The trouble is you’re not going to to do that with needles and lasers because it would cost a fortune and you’d spend a big part of your life at the therapist’s office. You’re not likely to keep inflicting pain on yourself with balls and rollers either. However, it’s so convenient and easy to use vibration massage. That’s why using one is probably the only way most people can ever hope to get rid of trigger points and trigger point pain. With that in mind, let’s look at the nuts and bolts on how to use them. For a quick summary you can see the video above.


  • How to find your trigger points
  • How to apply the massage
  • How to choose a suitable machine
  • Treating specific problems

How to find your trigger points

The examination technique

First you need to find the trigger points. The way you do this is examine your muscles for tender lumps that shoot pain when you press on them. Start with the flats of your fingers and do a general examination looking for tightness and tenderness, then if you find a suspicious part use the tips of your fingers to examine more deeply.

Trigger point chart

Where to look

One thing about trigger points is they usually shoot pain away from where they are, so how do you know where to look? We’ve got articles on many conditions that show where the common trigger points are. There’re also charts that show them, but the best thing you can do is have a professional show you. Just say you’ve got neck pain. That can be complex with things other than trigger points involved so what you do is see a proper professional who deals with that sort of thing such as a chiropractor, osteopath or a properly qualified therapist. While you’re there you say “I’ve got this vibration massager and would like to do some extra trigger point therapy at home. Can you show me where to use it and make sure I’m doing it properly”.

How to apply the massage

There’s some simple hints and precautions you can find in the instructions section on our website, but as shown in the video you need to do sit the machine over where the trigger point is and let the therapeutic vibrations penetrate. You don’t need to press in or move the machine around. In fact that would be counter productive.

Earthquakes can penetrate 100s of km

Don’t use percussion massager techniques

That said, there’s a marketing gimmick called percussion massagers that are designed to drive their heads in rather than send in vibrations. Their advocates say that it makes them penetrate better, but if you understand anything about physics you’ll realise this is total garbage. Vibrations always penetrate much better than physical penetration. That’s why an earthquake can vibrate the ground and buildings will fall over 100s of km away. While a percussion massager is trying to drive it’s head in like a jackhammer, a professional vibration massager will send vibrations right through you.

You’ll have people with percussion massagers, usually massage guns, showing you how to push their heads in and move the thing around like a conventional massage. That’s the way they work, but it’s a lot less effective and makes it a lot more likely to hurt yourself. Because of this it’s pretty important you get the right sort of machine, so please check out our article How to choose a massager.

You need a decent handle

Advantages of a proper handle
A proper ergonomically designed handle allows you to use the massager anywhere on your body

While on the subject of massage guns the other really bad thing about them is that they haven’t got a decent handle. With a vibration massager with a proper handle you can easily reach and treat trigger points anywhere on your body, but not with a massage gun.

How often and how long to apply the massage for

So, you know how to find the trigger points, and that you just need to sit the massage and let the vibrations penetrate, but how long do you do it for and how often. We don’t know your individual circumstances so this can only be general advice to discuss with a professional familiar your own needs, but in general 30 seconds works for most trigger points, while really nasty deep ones say in your backside muscles might need a minute. You might start with daily applications, then once they’ve settled down maybe weekly or even monthly to keep them at bay.

How to choose a massager

This therapy works amazingly well, but you will need a decent professional strength vibration massager. They’re not that common though. Most of the massagers on the market are either ineffective consumer consumers, massage guns, or both. That’s why a while back to get something decent for our patients we built our own. I’ll quickly show you them.

The General Purpose Massager

This is our General Purpose Massager. We’ve had them for over a decade and they’re widely used and recommended by professionals across a number of countries. They’re very solid and reliable. The business end delivers strong therapeutic vibrations, and they have an ergonomically designed handle so you can easily use it anywhere on your body.

The Ultimate Quad Head Massager

The General Purpose Massagers do a fantastic job, but you’re limited to what’s under the head, so a while ago we built our quad head massager. It has all the benefits of the General Purpose Massager, but you can treat multiple trigger points at once. Another thing we found is that because this is larger and flatter than the single head machine it will sit nicely behind you or underneath if you use it like a chair or cushion massager. If you do that though just make sure you have about the same pressure on the machine as you would using it normally.


DrGraeme massagers were originally built by Dr Graeme for use in his clinic, and to prescribe to his patients for additional self use at home. Now these are used by colleagues and other professionals for similar purposes. If you are a professional and wish to know more about this therapy, or possibly get a sample massager to trial please check out our practitioner page.

We are continually adding more information on research and uses. Subscribe below to have us email them to you "hot off the press".

Dr Graeme

About Dr Graeme

Several years ago Dr Graeme, a Chiropractor practicing in Victoria, Australia was looking for a serious hand held massager his patients could use at home to get the extra quality massage they needed. The ones he found in the shops and on-line for home use looked nice but were not serious, and... read more

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