What Is Trigger Point Therapy?

Trigger point therapy is a non-invasive therapy, involving pressure application at the myofascial trigger points, with the aim of producing pain-relief. Though it sounds somewhat similar, it is very different from ‘massage therapy’.

The term “Trigger Point” was first used by Dr Janet Travell, who is famous for her pioneering techniques in the treatment of myofascial pain, as well as for being the first appointed female personal physician to the American President.

What Are “Trigger Points”?

“Trigger points” are hyper-irritable spots located within a taut band of skeletal muscle. They can be identified by touching common points on human body to feel for tender spots in the muscles. Trigger points are thought to result from repetitive micro-traumas.

Lifestyle factors that may lead to the formation of “trigger points” include:

  • Poor sitting posture
  • Poor back support during prolonged sitting
  • Improper height of arm rests
  • Continuous leaning over the table as in typing on a computer
  • Holding a phone between a ear and shrugged shoulders, to free the arms

How Do Trigger Points Affect A Patient?

Trigger points may manifest as:

  • Tension headache
  • Tinnitus
  • Temporomandibular joint pain
  • Arm and hand radiating-pain, tingling and numbness
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Decreased range of motion in the legs

How is Trigger Point Therapy Performed?

The most common approach to trigger point therapy consists of deep pressure application over the taut muscle fibers, in order to induce the relaxation of these muscle fibers and pain relief. The pressure applied tends to increase the discomfort initially, but relief is usually felt soon after.

Trigger points can also be treated using various other modalities:

Non-pharmacologic means

  • Medical massage – Applying pressure over the trigger point points
  • Dry-needling – Stimulating the trigger points by needling the taut muscle fibre groups.
  • Bio-stimulation (electrical stimulation, ultrasound) – Low voltage current or imperceptible ultrasound waves are applied over the trigger points.
  • Hydrotherapy and thermotherapy – Using water jets or other media like paraffin wax, infra-red waves to conduct heat and cold sensation to the trigger points

Pharmacologic injections

  • Local anaesthetics
  • Steroids
  • Saline
  • Botulinum toxin

If you are unsure of what is the best treatment option for your joint pain, or if your condition has not improved despite standard treatments and have been told to consider surgery,
simply call us at +65 6732 2397 or leave a message below for Dr Tan to discuss a customized non-invasive solution for you.