Myofascial trigger points refer to knotted, painful nodules in the muscles and their connective tissue. These trigger points are typically causes of localized pain, but can also radiate pain out into the muscles and tissues around them. A myofascial trigger point in the shoulder muscle, for example, might radiate pain up the neck and into the head, causing chronic headaches. Even though they are an extremely common cause of chronic pain, myofascial trigger points are not commonly included in most medical studies. As trigger point massage therapy gains greater use and understanding, however, many practitioners are finding it an extremely useful technique for curing chronic pain, in many cases releasing patients from years of anti-inflammatory and steroidal medication.
Evidence for the effectiveness of Myofascial Trigger Point Massage Therapy
A 2008 review of studies in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that trigger points could actually be imaged using MRE technology, providing objective evidence of what had only been subjectively evaluable before. The same study revealed that tension in the muscle tissue surrounding the nodules could be up to 50% greater than in other muscle tissues around the body. An increasing number of studies are now indicating that myofascial trigger point massage therapy may be one of our most effective methods for treating chronic musculoskeletal disorders.