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Subject: A New Idea about the Wobblies Part 1
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Treating Trigger Points in the Neck

There are several different treatments for trigger points, but the only practical method of self-treatment is massage. You simply stroke across the trigger point using direct pressure (or a pinch) that causes roughly half the maximal pain intensity that extreme pressure causes. It’s probably best to stroke in one direction only, and there is some theoretical justification for stroking towards the heart. Some therapists recommend very mild exercise to mobilize the affected muscles prior to massage and gentle stretching after massage, and I chose to do both.

For gentle exercise I tilted my head towards the affected muscle against light resistance from my hand, ten times. For massage I settled on 17 strokes, as more than 20 seemed to cause the trigger point to become more sensitive. Stretching after massage, which was the most time-consuming part of treatment, followed the usual physiotherapists advice. I stretched each muscle by tilting my head gradually until reaching some resistance or pain, stopping until that abated (typically ten seconds), then continuing for a total of 30 seconds. I worked around my neck and stretched each muscle three times.

I treated each trigger point twice a day until they because noticeably less sensitive to pressure, which took 10 days, then resumed flying aerobatics and found my wobblies were gone. I’ve continued to massage the affected parts of my neck muscles once a day since my discovery of the trigger points, and I’ve had no recurrence of my wobblies. In that time, occasionally every trigger point abruptly became more sensitive to pressure and improved over several days of massage, including during the winter when I wasn’t flying, probably because my poor posture continually reactivates them. However, in no case has any trigger point become as sensitive to pressure as they were when I first discovered them.
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