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How Common is Trigger Point Pain?
In the 1999 Edition of Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction Drs. Travell and Simons review studies of the prevalence of pain induced by trigger points, which they term "myofascial pain". Some were studies of people who visited medical practices, and others of various people in the general population not seeking medical attention. The incidence of trigger points in both kinds of group was higher than one might expect.
STUDIES OF PEOPLE SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR PAIN
(2) "Among 283 consecutive admissions to a comprehensive pain center, a primary organic diagnosis of myofascial syndrome was assigned in 85% of cases. A neurosurgeon and a physiatrist made this diagnosis independently, based upon physical examination 'as described of Simons and Travell'". (Vol.1:13).
(3) "Five lumbogluteal muscles of 976 patients complaining of pain in the locomotor system were examined in an orthopedic clinic. Forty-nine percent of the patients presented with latent TrPs and 21% presented with active TrPs in the piriformis muscle." (Vol.1:13).
STUDIES OF PEOPLE NOT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION
Do people not in doctor's offices have trigger points too?
(4) In one study cited by Travell and Simons, 269 student nurses were examined for the presence of trigger points in various jaw and neck muscles. In the four different jaw muscles tested trigger points were found in 54%, 45%, 43% and 40% of the individuals. In the three neck muscles examined trigger points were found in 35%, 33% and 42% of them. (This study did not distinguish latent from active trigger points, but Travell and Simons note that some were probably active because some individuals had pain in the referral areas.)
(5) In another study of five lower back and hip muscles in 100 asymptomatic individuals, latent trigger points were found in a high percentage: quadratus lumborum 45%, gluteus medius 41%, iliopsoas 24%, gluteus minimus 11%, piriformis 5%.(6) Yet another study considered the age of patients with "fibrositis syndrome*". Travell and Simons note that
Younger people also have trigger points that can cause debilitating pain. These cases are more likely to be caused by a specific traumatic incident, such as a car accident or twisting the neck the wrong way while making some muscular effort. As people age they tend to accumulate latent trigger points left over from the various insults that an active life visits on the body. Then when new trauma occurs, or repetitive strain builds up, they are much more suspectible to a trigger point that can cause serious and perhaps long-lasting pain.
* FIBROSITIS: Travell and Simons consider the term "fibrositis"
This page is part of a larger website intended to educate people about trigger point bodywork and other methods of non-invasive, drug-free pain relief. Myofascial therapy was developed by physicians in the last few decades. Its primary purpose is to eliminate myofascial pain, but it also improves movement and posture.
I offer myofascial treatment and other pain management services for the Clinton, Towaco, Fayson Lakes and Rockaway Valley area of northern NJ, though I am not immediately nearby. If you live in a town such as Franklin, Powerville, Hibernia, or Mount Hope NJ I would still be the closest certified therapist. Meridan, Kinnelon, Marcella and Lyonsville NJ also fall into this category, as does Taylortown, NJ and much of the rest of New Jersey. Somewhat distant towns are mentioned because I have seen many times that people are glad to travel even several hours to get rid of pain. If you live elsewhere you may be able to find a practitioner nearby.
Copyright 2007 Joseph Hoane