What is Trigger Point Therapy


  • Trigger point therapy is a form of manual therapy that treats painful areas of the body called trigger points. Trigger points are small, overly irritable knots of muscle fibres that cause pain and discomfort and can often transmit pain to other areas of the body. Trigger point therapy involves applying pressure to these points, either manually or with the help of special instruments, to release the tension and restore normal muscle function.

Trigger Point Therapy

The development of trigger point therapy can be traced back to the work of Dr Janet Travell, a physician and researcher who is widely regarded as the pioneer of myofascial trigger point therapy. Dr Travell was the personal physician to President John F. Kennedy, and her work on trigger points had a significant impact on the field of pain management and manual therapy.

During a typical trigger point therapy session, the therapist locates the trigger points in the client’s muscles by palpating the area and applying pressure. This pressure can be sustained or applied with rapid movements and can be done with the fingers, elbows or special tools. The therapist applies pressure to the point until the tension is released and the muscle returns to a relaxed state.

Trigger point therapy can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, headaches, neck and back pain, and joint pain. It is often used in conjunction with other forms of manual therapy, such as massage or chiropractic treatments, as well as exercise and stretching.

One of the main benefits of trigger point therapy is that it can lead to rapid relief of pain and discomfort. Trigger points are often responsible for chronic pain and by releasing the tension in these points, patients can experience significant relief from their symptoms. Trigger point therapy can also help improve range of motion and flexibility, which can be beneficial for athletes and people with mobility issues.

While trigger point therapy is generally considered safe and non-invasive, there are some potential risks and side effects to be aware of. These include temporary pain or discomfort in the treated area and the possibility of bruising or bleeding if excessive force is used. In rare cases, trigger point therapy can cause a muscle spasm or aggravate an existing condition, so it is important to consult a doctor before trying this type of therapy.

To get the most benefit from trigger point therapy, it is important to work with a trained and experienced therapist. A qualified therapist is able to accurately locate and treat trigger points and can create a treatment plan tailored to the patient’s individual needs and goals. He or she can also provide guidance on exercises and stretches that can help prevent the development of new trigger points and maintain the benefits of therapy over time.

In summary, trigger point therapy is a manual therapy technique that applies pressure to specific muscle points to relieve tension and promote healing. Although the evidence for its effectiveness is mixed, many people have found it to be a helpful therapy for pain relief and functional improvement. If you are considering trigger point therapy, be sure to see a doctor and work with a trained and experienced therapist to get the most benefit from this treatment.