What is a Trigger Point?

trigger point

What is a Trigger Point?

Dr's Travell and Simons defined a myofascial trigger point as a"hyperirritable spot in a skeletal muscle". The spot is painful on compression and can give rise to characteristic referred pain, referred tenderness, motor dysfunction and autonomic phenomena.

Myofascial trigger points are commonly seen in both acute and chronic pain conditions. Hendler and Kozikowski suggest that myofascial trigger points as the most commonly missed diagnosis in chronic pain patients. 

trigger point

(Image from istop.org)

Why Do Trigger Points Cause Pain?

According to Dr. Gunn, 'Shortening in muscles acting across a joint increases joint pressure, upsets alignment, and can precipitate pain in the joint, i.e. arthralgia.' Dry needling of the 'shortened' muscle band causes an immediate palpable relaxation. A sense of release and increased range of motion is often experienced by the patient.

When used in conjunction with motor control retraining and postural and movement behaviour retraining, the release obtained from dry needling can be long lasting.

How Are Trigger Points Treated?

Over the years it has been shown that it is possible to deactivate triggers points by injecting them with a large number of varying substances, including saline (salt water) placebo. It has been subsequently suggested then, that only consistent factor is that the pain relief is obtained from the stimulation of the needle used for the injection itself, rather than the drug or saline solution used. This mechanical needle stimulation of the trigger point without the use of a drug is known as Dry Needling!

The needle sites can be at the epicentre of taut, tender muscle bands, or they can be near the spine where the nerve root may have become irritated and supersensitive. Penetration of a normal muscle is painless; however, a shortened, supersensitive muscle will 'grasp' the needle in what can be described as a cramping sensation. The result is a stimulation of the stretch receptor in the muscle (muscle spindle), producing a reflex relaxation or lengthening response.

trigger point

(Image from istop.org)

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FAQs about Acupuncture & Dry Needling

  • Early Injury Treatment
  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
  • Proprioception & Balance Exercises
  • Soft Tissue Massage
  • Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
  • TENS Machine
  • Common Physiotherapy Treatment Techniques
  • What is Dry Needling?
  • What is a Trigger Point?
  • What is Acupressure?
  • Heat Packs. Why does heat feel so good?
  • What is Chronic Pain?
  • What is Nerve Pain?
  • What is Sports Physiotherapy?
  • What's the Benefit of Stretching Exercises?

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    Last updated 17-Mar-2019 01:42 PM

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