Referred pain

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Suffering from chronic pain?



Pain is the most common symptom for which people seek medical treatment. It is currently estimed that at some point in theirs lives, approximately 90 percent of all Americans will experience some sort of myofascial pain like back pain, neck pain, elbow pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis,piriformis syndrome, migraine, etc. Myofascial pain is common but not well known of the healthcare system.

What exactly is Myofascial Pain?

The word myofascial means:

 myofascial release

The prefix ¨myo¨ in myofascial refers to muscle. ¨Fascial¨ refers to membrane, the thin translucent membrane that envelops and separates muscles like shrink-wrap. It covers every muscle, ligament, tendon and bone in your body. *Do not mixed up fascia with facial. Trigger points certainly can cause face pain, but myofascial pain can occur anywhere in the body.

When you have trigger points in a muscle, its fascia gets tight and inflexible. The muscle will remain in a shorten position and will result in reduction of blood flow and range of motion.

What is a Trigger Point?

According to Travell & Simons, (Pioneers of the trigger point therapy) a trigger point is a « highly irritable spot of exquisites tenderness in a muscle »In plain English a trigger point is a knot that develop in a muscle when it is injured or overworked. A trigger point is painful upon compression. You can have more than one trigger point in one muscle.

Trigger Points symptoms

The symptoms produce by trigger points are actually quite diverse and are not limited to pain sensations only. Other abnormal sensations can include: numbness, tingling, hypersensitivity and a sense of burning.

Referred pain pattern and location (x) of trigger point in the upper trapezius muscle.

Although trigger points symptoms are diverse, their most characteristic effect is referred pain. The displacement of the pain from its source to some other part of the body. An example are trigger points in the upper trapezius muscle.

Solid red shows the essential referred pain zone. trigger points in the upper trapezius will mimic a headache!

It is a mistake to assume that the problem is at the place that hurts!

Since trigger points refer pain away from where they are located, it is critically important that you find out what muscles harbors the trigger points causing the pain and eliminate them!

Trigger points can mimics the symptoms of certain diseases like tendinitis, capsulitis, vertigo, headache/migraine, tennis elbow etc. Puzzling the best doctors.


The misdiagnosis of pain is the most important issue when dealing with trigger points. Referred pain from trigger points mimics the symptoms of a very long list of common diseases like, headache, tennis elbow, tendinitis, vertigo, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, TMJ (jaw pain) and more . Trigger points are invisible to x-rays which makes the diagnosis even more difficult. In addition, they react very little to medication.

chronic pain

Trigger Points causes:

Some of the activities that create trigger points are: Falls, strain, overwork, and accident. Other causes are not so obvious like perpetuating factors.

Perpetuating Factors:

  • Poor work habits
  • Poor posture
  • lack of exercise
  • repetitive movement
  • Stress and tension
  • just to name a few of them...

The good news is that all these factors are, with the exception of congenital defects in bone structure under your control and are mainly du to bad habits.

A muscle with trigger points may not fully lengthen and for that reason it will have diminished strength and power and will fatigue more easily. For that same reason stretching and strengthening exercises are not good at that moment.Before doing those exercises the trigger points should be treated.

Self-Care Treatment

If you would like to know more about trigger points self treatment I would recommend the following book:

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief

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Thanks for reading!

Legal Disclaimer: The information provided on EnergyKinesiologist.Com is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions.You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

By: Michel Bourgeois, Licensed Massage Therapist & Energy Kinesiologist in Santa Monica

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