What Is a Trigger Point?

As defined by the American Massage Therapy Association, a trigger point is an "irritated area in muscle fibers that when compressed may elicit pain or a twitching response."1 Trigger point therapy serves to relieve these trigger points that are thought to cause referred pain in other areas of the body through applying pressure to the trigger points which may break the spasms and the resulting pain.

The trigger point theory is controversial with one side supporting the idea that pain from previously unknown sources may be due to these trigger points that stiffen the muscle and decrease the range of motion; whereas the other side purports that concentrating on a trigger point may result in a misdiagnosis of another cause. In an article in Massage and Bodywork magazine, Ben E. Benjamin points out that trigger points may be secondary to the primary cause of pain.2

Regardless, trigger points may be responsible for a number of conditions that are otherwise difficult to treat. According to an article written by Paul Svacina, BS, PE, LMT. "trigger points may cause headaches (tension and migraine), temperomandibular joint pain, sciatica, and apparent carpal tunnel syndrome and can be associated with burning, numbness, weakness, temperature, sweating, dryness, dizziness, nausea, tinnitus, vision, decreased range of motion, and other problems."3

Trigger point therapy is a noninvasive massage therapy that may help relieve your pain without the use of addictive pain medications and invasive surgery. Contact a licensed and trained trigger point therapy specialist today for pain relief.


1. Svacina P. Referred Pain and Trigger Point Therapy