Virginia Spine Institute

Non-Operative Treatments
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Trigger Point Manipulation

Myofascial trigger points are a very common cause of pain. A trigger point is an area of sensitivity within soft tissues, which is tender to touch, and which can be manipulated to decrease pain. These areas are hyperirritable spots found in skeletal muscle associated with nodules in bands of the muscle fiber. These areas can radiate in the surrounding areas or in other parts of the body, causing a significant amount of pain.

Figure 1: Neck Levator Scapulae

These hypersensitive areas can be manipulated to decrease the pain. Trigger points, when manipulated, can provide instant relief. Many providers, including physical therapists and chiropractors, can massage these points. Dry needling or trigger point injections with an anesthetic are some of the methods used in managing trigger points.

Myofascial release is a form of soft tissue therapy used to treat pain and allow improved range of motion. Relaxing the contracted muscle can lead to increased circulation and allow the stimulation of the muscles and fascia.

Figure 2: Trigger Point Manipulation

The goal of direct myofascial release is to stretch the restricted fascia by applying force. Direct release can change the underlying structures by mobilizing adhesive tissues and reaching deep tissues. Many patients experience pain relief after trigger point manipulation.