Trigger Points

What is a trigger point?

A trigger point is an abnormal foci (group of cells) in the muscle that, when active, causes constant and sometimes severe pain.

Where are trigger points located?

Abnormal foci can be located anywhere in the body and can cause pain that may be far away from the actual trigger point, which is called referred pain.  Examples of this include:

  • Chronic headaches that may be as severe as a migraine;
  • Neck and upper extremity pain, sometimes confused with cervical radiculopathy coming from a disc in the cervical spine;
  • Low back pain or pain in the lower extremities, sometimes confused as originating in a bulging disc in the lower spine;
  • Pain symptoms similar to thoracic outlet syndrome, a group of disorders that occur when blood vessels or nerves in the space between collarbone and the first rib (thoracic outlet) are compressed;
  • Abdominal pain; and
  • Symptoms related to Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy syndrome (RSD), also called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).  

Can it be treated?

Trigger points can be treated successfully with physiotherapy and a trigger point injection.  Often, trigger point injections can lead to long-lasting pain relief. However, the procedure does require a thorough history and physical examination. It also requires a physician with a high level of skill to make the diagnosis, find the trigger point and accurately target the point with the injection needle.  Injections that miss the exact trigger point do not provide the highest degree of effective pain relief.

About Dr. Badie Mansour

Dr. Mansour, a pain medicine specialist, is an expert in trigger point injections with a high success rate in treatments, including those targeting myofascial pain, a chronic pain disorder.