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  • Dr Andrew Smy

What Is A Trigger Point?

If we had a pound for every time we got asked this….. so here's the answer!


A trigger point is a very sensitive area in the muscle, which can be felt and when pressed can make you jump, or make the muscle twitch or go into spasm. Furthermore when pressed can create a pain that is located somewhere else in the body.


There are a number causes for trigger points for example:

  • injury

  • poor posture

  • stress

  • poor sleep

  • Vitamin deficient

Any of these factors can create a trigger point because they cause the nerve that stimulates the muscle to contract to become overactive. This in turn means that the body’s immune response is activated and the muscle is shortened with an increase in the metabolic demand as well .



There are a number of ways to treat a trigger point. For example Fryer and Hodgkinson found that trigger point release and pressure, which is where the therapist will press on the trigger point and hold it until the pain eases then release and reapply the pressure until the muscle relaxes is very effective.


This technique increases the amount of blood to the area and also decreases the amount of ischemia in the area allowing the muscle to relax, furthermore there will be a rush of endorphins which is why the pain will ease.


Another technique is spray and stretch which works by activating the nerves on the skin which travel to the brain faster than the nerves that cause the muscle to contract allowing the muscle to relax, the therapist will then be able to stretch the muscle. This will help align the muscle fibres and increase the range of motion of the muscle whilst also decreasing the pain as well. Win Win!


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