A Trigger Point is a hyper-sensitive area in the muscle or connective tissue (fascia) that becomes painful when compressed. Pressing on a trigger point can cause referred pain and can help identify the external area in the body generating the pain. On the other hand, trigger points can also be a point from which pain radiates throughout the muscle and fascia causing myofascial pain syndromes.
Trigger point myotherapy can take many forms. There are a variety manual therapies that can be used to treat Myofascial Trigger Points which we use in our Office. Ischemic Compression, which mostly consists of putting physical pressure on these points, interrupting the blood supply, so that when the manual pressure is released there is a flushing response to restore local circulation which disrupts the cycle of poor blood supply to the trigger point in order to break up the trigger point. Active Release Technique/ART is also a very effective trigger point manual therapy. Manual therapy for trigger points is highly effective but can be somewhat uncomfortable for the patient due to the extreme tenderness associated with trigger points. For patients who find manual trigger point therapies too uncomfortable, we can use another method that combines electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) with pulsed ultrasound (US). This method is much less uncomfortable than the manual method, but very effective also.
When using the EMS/US combination method, the EMS is used to find the trigger points in the musculature and the pulsed ultrasound breaks up the trigger points. Most patients find this therapy very effective.