Trigger Points

Definition:
Myofascial trigger points, commonly referred to simply as trigger points, are a common condition. Because this is a condition of the muscles and the surrounding tissue, trigger points can develop just about anywhere in the body. It is sometimes described as a “knot” or “kink” in the muscles. Patients can have trigger points as a single diagnosis, these are often associated with other painful musculoskeletal conditions.

Causes:
Trigger points are caused by injury to the fascia, which can best be described as a specialized type of tissue that covers muscle and resembles shrink-wrap. While acute incidents of trauma can damage the fascia, trigger points can also be a result of overuse of the muscle. If repetitive strain is put on the muscles, the fascia stretches and contracts. Patients can also develop trigger points if they have poor posture or hold their bodies in certain positions for too long. This type of overuse injury is called postural overload. For example, excess weight may pull the back inwards or patients with arthritis may alter their posture to avoid pain.

Symptoms:
Trigger points are known for causing referred pain. This means that pain is felt in one area of the body, but the original source is somewhere else, which can sometimes make it difficult to form a diagnosis. When pressed, trigger points will cause pain in predictable places that are related to that trigger point. 

Treatments:
Patients with trigger points often are advised to begin with massage therapy. Many patients can find relief by seeing a professional massage therapist who specializes in fascial therapy. However, this is typically recommended for acute trigger point pain. Patients whose trigger points are recurring and have had the condition for a while may benefit from other forms of treatment offered at TriState Pain Institute. Trigger point injections have been proven to be one of the most effective treatments for this condition. These injections are designed to treat muscle pain and can provide pain relief for months at a time. The mixture of anesthetic and steroid medication work quickly to help relax the muscle. If needed, our physicians can treat multiple trigger points at a time using injection therapy.

 

See all conditions

Get tips on managing pain in the latest edition of Pain News

Download