• Trigger points can cause pain and stiffness anywhere in your body
  • Discover this Little Known (but very common) Cause of Muscle Pain
  • Find out how release them in 90 Seconds



  • Researched in the sixties by Dr Janet Travell and Dr David Simons.
  • Travell was President Kennedy’s physician and helped him with severe and chronic back pain.
  • Together, Travell and Simons mapped all the trigger points and their pain referral patterns.




A Trigger Point = a very small area of SPASM within your muscle.


The trigger point can be latent (not in spasm, but with potential – like a dormant volcano) or active (spasmed and painful.)


Some people have a few active trigger points, some people have dozens.


Click here to watch a video
explaining Trigger Points





Active trigger points cause muscle pain. Latent trigger point can cause stiffness in a muscle.


Triggers are created by a protective mechanism in your body – a message that tells a muscle to tighten up to prevent further damage.


As a protective reflex, this is fine, however the problems occur when the muscle does not relax.

Trigger Points act like the trigger of a gun –
when they fire, they can cause pain far from the point itself.

The pain distribution patterns of trigger points can be complex and unexpected.


eg. a trigger point in your shoulder can cause pain up your neck, into your head – like a classic tension headache.


Once you know these patterns, you can find the trigger points responsible for your pain.

Tension Headache Trigger Point

Persistant triggers
are like a warning
signal that doesn’t
switch off – even
after the danger
has passed



If you have pain – say a sore shoulder – there will be one main trigger point – that’s the primary trigger point.


Often there will also be a group of active secondary trigger points – the satellite trigger points.


Treating the primary trigger point will reduce the pain, but it’s important to switch off all the satellite triggers for full pain relief.

Primary + Secondary Points





Trigger point pain is similar to a very long list of common problems. However, they are often ignored as a possible source of pain.


In addition, trigger points get switched on by pain – so they could also exist as a secondary problem to a prolapsed disc (for instance.)


Here are some problems trigger point pain can mimic:


















Trigger Points are a protective
reflex in your muscle

Trigger points are caused by a protective mechanism designed to keep your body safe. So anything that stresses your muscles can produce trigger points.

  • Bad Posture
  • Injury/Trauma
  • Muscle Overuse
  • Chronic Pain
  • Surgery
  • Fibromyalgia











Ischemic Pressure
This technique involves putting gentle pressure on the trigger point for 90-120 seconds.


This briefly cuts off blood supply to the trigger, interrupting the feedback loop that keeps the muscle in spasm.


When done correctly, this technique should be comfortable and painless.

  • 1. Find the trigger point with your hands. Feel for a tight band within the muscle that – when pressed on, recreates your pain pattern.
  • 2. Reduce pressure until you feel no pain. Then, over the next 90-120 seconds, threshold of pain.
  • 3. By the end of this time, you should feel that the trigger point (felt as a thickening in the tight band of the muscle) is no longer there.

Link to watch video



You can use tools to treat trigger points that you can’t easily reach in this way. ie. trigger points in your back.


The Theracane


Tennis or Lacrosse Ball


The Backnobber

Trigger Point Foam Roller








Hot & Cold
This was one of the original Travell methods. Again, the aim is to interrupt the message that is telling your muscle to stay in a protective spasm.

This time, the message is interrupted by applying cold and then heat to the area.

  • 1. Moving at about 1 inch per second, move the cold pack from the trigger point into the pain zone
  • 2. Do this twice, then apply heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • 3. Stretch








Myofascial Release
This technique involves releasing the fascia – or connective tissue that overlies the muscles.

This time, the message is interrupted by applying cold and then heat to the area.

  • 1. Find the trigger point. Start with your fingers parallel to the muscle fibers point into the pain zone
  • 2. Gradually move your hands away from each other, moving 1/4 inch per 15-20 seconds
  • 3. Once your hands are around 3 inches apart, the myofascial release is completed.

Myofascial Release








Dry Needling
This technique can be very effective. It allows pinpoint accuracy and is good for reaching deep muscles.


To dry needle a trigger point, typically acupuncture needles are used. The practitioner searches for the trigger point with their hands.


Once the trigger point is found, the needle is inserted. The therapist is trying to get a ‘twitch’ response. Literally, the muscle twitches when the needle is accurately inserted into the trigger point.


The needle is then left in for 30 seconds to five minutes, during which time the trigger is switched off.

Dry Needling


Trigger Point Injection
This is similar to dry needling, except that instead of using an
acupuncture needle, the practitioner uses an injection needle.

Various substances can be injected into the muscle where the trigger point is located. The most common substance is local anaesthetic.

Trigger point injections can be very useful for long term pain relief and deactivating deep and entrenched trigger points.




Bad Computer Posture

QU: ‘How can you stop the triggers from coming back?’

This leads us to underlying causes.

For Example: If you sit for 8 hours a day in front of your computer with bad posture, it’s likely that the trigger points caused by this continual muscle tension will return.


Core Exercises video

Other Causes of Triggers:

  • Bad Technique (sport)
  • High Inflammation Diet
  •  Weak Core Muscles


fibromyalgia video series

Fibromyalgia Video Series

Fibromyalgia syndrome often causes people to have a large
number of active trigger points. While treating the triggers
doesn’t ‘cure’ fibromyalgia, it can offer some pain relief.

Another condition that’s often ignored is sensitisation of
the central nervous system.
This occurs with chronic pain
when your nervous system is not accurately reporting the
sensations in your body.

That is: you feel pain, but that pain is not connected to damage in your body. Or, what would normally be a slight discomfort is felt as extreme pain the pain centre of your brain.

The pain is real, even though it is not connected to physical damage. And this type of pain doesn’t usually respond to conventional pain treatment.

Treating this condition is a complex subject, however trigger points often form part of the picture here, and switching off active triggers usually results in some pain relief.



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