A Comprehensive Approach to Chronic and Acute
Victoria L. Magown, CMTPT, LMT
and George S. Pellegrino, LMT, CMTPT
In 1955, there was a young senator who had such severe low back pain
that he needed to use crutches to walk. He walked into the office
of Janet G. Travell, MD, with the aid of his crutches. Three hours
later, he walked out without them. . . or so the story goes. How
was she able to relieve his pain when all other medical treatments
had failed? Dr. Travell had discovered that muscles can become dysfunctional
and cause debilitating pain.
The young senator told Dr. Travell that when he became president,
he would like her to come to the White House and be his physician.
The Senator, John F. Kennedy, became president and Dr. Travell became
the first woman to serve as White House Physician.
Janet Travell, MD
Dec 17, 1901 - Aug 1, 1997
Dr. Travell had discovered when muscles are traumatized through
accidents, sports, occupation or disease, Myofascial Trigger Points
are laid down in the muscles. Trigger points are hypersensitive areas
which keep that portion of the muscle contracted, causing pain and
tightness. The word "Myofascial" is the combination of two Latin
words, myo which means muscle and fascia for the connective tissue
in and around the muscle. Dr. Travellís research demonstrates that
each muscle has a specific pattern of referred pain. That is, a Myofascial
Trigger Point, will produce pain in another part of the body. Once
a Trigger Point is laid down, it can be there for life unless properly
Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy is a comprehensive program which
includes inactivating trigger points by using compression, Fluori-Methane
spray and stretch and/or microcurrent. Therapeutic exercises, including
both passive and active stretches, bring the muscle back to itís
full normal length. Perpetuating Factors such as water intake, nutrition,
sleep positions, body mechanics, posture, and correct ergonomics
at your workstation are also addressed.
This comprehensive approach, the protocol developed by Dr. Travell,
is what sets a Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist (CMTPT)
apart from other therapists. Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy is
such a powerful and comprehensive program for treating acute and
chronic pain that it requires a prescription from your doctor. This
is to protect you from delayed treatment if your pain problem is
other than muscular. Following treatment, you are given specific
stretches to retrain the muscles treated. The Home Stretch Rehabilitation
program is a key to maintaining pain relief.
On occasion, just doing appropriate stretches and addressing perpetuating
factors can bring complete pain relief. An example of this was reinforced
when I went to a party at a friendís house. Often, when people are
not familiar with me or my profession, I end up "talking shop" and
giving mini treatments. That evening, I was listening to a man telling
me about his recent neck pain. He explained that the pain started
about two months previous. While at work, his pain would increase
and travel down into his left arm and hand. As I listened, it became
evident that his pain came on gradually, without any apparent trauma.
I asked him what had happened two months ago. A smile appeared on
his face as he told me how everyone in his department had been given
The smile quickly faded and he said, "Thatís it, isnít it?" "My
new desk is giving me neck pain." I gave him specific stretches to
do on a regular basis and my business card. He said he would do the
stretches regularly and make the changes I suggested with his new
desk to be more ergonomically correct. About three weeks later, I
received a note, thanking me for helping him to become pain free.
The power of proper stretching and elimination of perpetuation factors
was never more evident.
In more severe cases, we see people respond more quickly when
Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy is coupled with other therapies,
such as chiropractic, physical therapy, trigger point injection,
acupuncture, etc. We have a knowledgeable and professional network
of health practitioners with whom we coordinate treatment.
The therapists at MyoRehab treat many different kinds of pain
problems such as motor vehicle accidents, work related and occupational
injuries, sports injuries, TMJD, migraines and headaches, neck, shoulder
and back pain. In some cases, treatment before surgery, such as for
knee pain, eliminates the pain allowing strengthening of the knee
without the need for surgery.