Trigger Points

Trigger points create pain in a specific area of the muscle tissue and manifest as a tender, tangible nodule. When stimulated or compressed, the trigger point may produce a twitch response or may refer pain to another area. There are many different methods for diagnosing trigger points and many different theories regarding their causes and the construction of their referred pain patterns. There are more than 600 possible trigger points in the human body, and those points can be potential, active, or latent. Those classified as “active” are actively referring pain locally or to another body region. Those classified as “latent,” on the other hand, exist but are not yet painful. “Key” trigger points activate or create latent trigger points, whereas “satellite” trigger points are activated by key trigger points. Trigger points can be activated a variety of ways, including muscle overload, activation of other trigger points, disease or other ailments, systemic inflammation caused by psychological distress, or infection. Physical therapists and other medical providers can alleviate the pain caused by trigger points through several types of treatment. These may include manual therapy and massage, vibration, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, compression, injection, administration of topical medication, and dry-needling. Once the pain subsides, practitioners commonly recommend elongating the affected muscles using various stretching techniques.