Various physiotherapy treatment techniques now focus on trigger point release whether manually, with hand, finger or thumb pressure or with dry needling techniques, however sometimes it may be helpful to understand what trigger points are, and why they develop in muscle tissue.

Myofascial trigger points are present, to some extent, for everyone.  Some muscle groups are more predisposed to their development than others.  In particular the trapezius, levator scapulae, and scalene muscle groups in the neck and the gleuteal muscle groups on the outer aspect of the hips seem to be prone to their development.  However they can occur anywhere.

So what are they?

Myofascial trigger points are hyperirritable points within a muscle that will produce pain to the touch.  They are sometimes also referred to as knots.  Palpation of trigger points by a physiotherapist will often result in the referral of pain from the site to elsewhere.  This is often used as a treatment technique by practitioners and is sometimes called trigger pointing.  Skilled practitioners of trigger pointing will be able to feel taut band or knots within muscle tissue and palpation will often reproduce a patient’s symptoms.  Various techniques such as dry needling, and direct trigger pointing can be effective in relieving the pain and discomfort associated with the development of these trigger points.

It’s not overly pleasant having the trigger points manipulated, but the results make it worthwhile.  So take a deep breath it’ll be over soon..