Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point therapy is not a miracle cure all for all pain - but it's close.

So what is trigger point therapy?

Also known as Myotherapy or Neuromuscular Therapy, your massage therapist applies concentrated finger pressure to "trigger points" (painful irritated areas in muscles or tender points) to break cycles of muscle spasm and myofascial pain

Good trigger point massage therapy can be hard to find in Walnut Creek and it may not work all the time.

But this underrated massage and self treatment technique, combined with deep tissue work has great potential to quickly, cheaply, and safely help you with your chronic pain issues like neck pain or shoulder pain.

What Are Trigger Points

You may have told your massage therapist that you have knots between your shoulder blades that are causing you horrible upper back pain.

Well, those knots are not really knots at all.


That's right, those knots are really myofascial trigger points.

You see, a trigger point is a small patch of tightly contracted muscle tissue. An isolated muscle spasm affecting just a small patch of muscle fibers. (not like a whole muscle spasm, like a charlie horse)

Too many of these nasty trigger points is called myofascial pain syndrome.

Characteristics of Trigger Points

Tight Bands and Muscle Tenderness

When pressed, trigger points are usually very tender.

Healthy muscles should not contain tight bands or tender spots. Even if you workout, your muscles should feel soft and pliable, like bread dough.

Referred Pain

While performing trigger point therapy, myofascial trigger points may refer pain in a local area and/or to other parts of your body. Often called referral patterns.

If you have referred tingling, numbness or burning sensations, more than likely, you have a trigger point that has tightened around or is pressing against a nerve.

Example, trigger points in the piriformis muscle compressing the sciatic nerve, causing pain that copies true sciatica (aka Piriformis Syndrome).

Muscle Weakness and Fatigue

Trigger points can cause muscle weakness and loss of coordination. You may think that strengthen exercises would fix this, but if these trigger points aren't turned off first, the muscles around the affected muscle will do the work, thus making the affected weaker

Also, your muscles containing trigger points tire out faster and don't return back to a relax state as quickly when you stop using them.

Other Symptoms

Trigger points can cause other symptoms not connected with muscular problems.

Things like:

  • Swelling
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Loss of balance
  • Dizziness
  • Buckling Knees

You may even suffer with:

  • Tension Headaches
  • Migraines
  • TMJ
  • Decreased range of motion

It probably hasn't occurred to you that these symptoms could be caused by trigger points in your muscles.

Active vs Latent Phase

A trigger point can be active or latent, depending on how irritated it is.

Trigger points that start with an impct injury to the muscle, are usually active in the beginning.

Poor posture or body mechanics, repetitive use, or a nerve root irritaion can cause an active trigger point.

Latent trigger points tend to develop over time, and you don't even know they're there.

Trigger points tend to form either in the middle of a muscle or where the muscle attaches to the bone.

Why Trigger Points Matter

Trust me, myofascial trigger points matter.

Why, because left untreated, these trigger points can cause muscle damage and have long term effects on your nervous system.


  1. Trigger points in your body are tender when pressed and may feel like a small lump in your muscle.

  2. If your muscles are healthy, then trigger points or pressure points shouldn't be present.

  3. Trigger ponits can cause symptoms in your body other than pain. (ex. dizziness, muscle fatigue)

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