Trigger points were first described by Janet Travell M.D. and David Simmons M.D. They defined trigger points as a hyper-irritable spot in a skeletal muscle that is associated with a taut band. Trigger points are painful with palpation and have characteristic referral patterns.
Normal healthy muscles will not have trigger points. They develop when muscles are exposed to repetitive use, postural tension, stress, and/ or direct injury. Once the trigger points develop they can remain for a long time and often become sources of chronic pain.
The referral patterns associated with trigger points give us clues into the true source of your pain. Often the pain from a trigger point will travel from the trigger point and show up several inches away.
Inner Gate acupuncturists are familiar with the typical referral patterns of major trigger points. We determine if trigger points are responsible for your pain by palpating the points and recreating your pain. Once identified, trigger points are easily treated with acupuncture, by relaxing compressed muscle tissue and eliminating the pain.
When an acupuncture needle is inserted into a trigger point the tissue is excited locally. This stimulates proprioceptive receptors and muscle spindle fibers, sending a signal directly to the spinal cord, resulting in the relaxation of the trigger point.