What are Trigger Points?

03 Nov 2015, Posted by Dougie in Blog Articles

Trigger Points – what are they exactly?


Not a day goes by in my practice without someone presenting with trigger points (TrP’s) that need attention so here’s the lowdown on what they are exactly.

Basically they are a small contraction in a muscle and when palpated feel like a pea buried deep in the muscle. This deep + hard contraction pulls on surrounding muscle fibres and connective tissue (fascia) and are so called myofascial (myo meaning muscle) trigger points.

There are 2 types of TrP’s: active and latent. Active ones cause pain at rest and is tender when palpated with pain referral pattern similar to the client’s complaint eg upper trapezius producing a headache. The pain is not at the site of the TrP but remote from it and can be described as being radiating or spreading. Latent TrP’s doesn’t cause spontaneous pain but can restrict movement and cause muscle weakness. A client with a latent TrP may only become aware of it only when pressure is applied directly over the TrP. Massage is very effective in relieving TrP’s as it breaks into an often stubborn self-sustaining cycle that has kept the muscle contracted and increases circulation of oxygen and nutrients into the contracted fibres; it directly stretches the TrP’s knotted muscle fibres.

Dry needling is extremely effective in eliminated TrP’s and I am seeing excellent results having just completed my dry needling qualification.

Click here to read more about dry needling