Trigger Point Therapy | Abq

Sports Chiropractic & Massage | Placitas, NM

Dr. Smith is an expert at Trigger Point Therapy.  This therapy can be a very safe and effective means of treating many types of acute & chronic pain. If you are seeking Trigger Point Therapy in Placitas or the surrounding areas of Bernalillo, Rio Rancho, Abq, or Santa Fe call or schedule online.

Trigger Point Therapy | Abq


A TP is a hyper-irritable spot or palpable nodule in the bands of a skeletal muscle’s fascia. Direct compression or muscle contraction can elicit a jump sign, local tenderness, a local twitch response and referred pain which is usually distant from the spot.

The referral patterns have been described extensively over the years and correlate heavily in location with the body’s meridian system as described in Eastern Medicine.  Research into such points is often conflicting and can feel much like going down a rabbit hole.  

We don’t necessarily form hyper irritable points for any particular reason.  Sometimes sleeping on the cold ground or carrying a heavy backpack is enough.  Poor posture, vitamin deficiencies, and repetitive stress activities have also been suggested as culprits.  Sometimes there is no apparent reason other than being alive.  

To make things worse, trigger points can be notoriously hard to find and don’t always present with the same symptoms.  In the head and neck region, myofascial pain syndrome with trigger points can manifest as tension headache, tinnitus, temporomandibular joint pain, eye symptoms, and torticollis.

Treatment Options

Similar to the controversy around cause is the controversy around treatment.  Non pharmacologic treatment modalities include acupuncture, osteopathic manual medicine techniques, massage, acupressure, ultrasonography, application of heat or ice, diathermy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, ethyl chloride Spray and Stretch technique, dry needling, and trigger-point injections with local anesthetic, saline, or steroid. The long-term clinical efficacy of various therapies is not clear.

That being said, we have a very good track record of both locating and treating trigger points.  Just as not every client is the same, not every trigger point requires the same treatment regimen.  We incorporate joint manipulation, deep tissue massage, compressive massage, assisted stretching, cryotherapy, various electrical modalities, energy work and sometimes supplementation to address trigger points depending on the patient’s needs.

The key to treating these little monsters is finding the therapy that is right for you. 

Potential Risks

  • Increased pain: Applying pressure to sensitive trigger points can initially worsen pain before it improves. This can be discouraging and lead to quitting treatment prematurely.
  • Bruising and soreness: The deep pressure used in trigger point therapy can cause temporary bruising and soreness in the treated area. This is usually mild and resolves within a few days.
  • Muscle tears: In rare cases, forceful manipulation of muscles during trigger point therapy can lead to muscle tears, especially if the therapy targets weak muscles.
  • Exacerbating underlying conditions: Trigger point therapy may not be suitable for everyone. People with certain medical conditions like fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, or nerve damage may experience worsened symptoms with this therapy.

It’s important to remember:

  • Trigger point therapy is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one person may not work for another.
  • Open communication is key. Discuss your medical history, pain severity, and any concerns you have with Dr. Smith. He can tailor the treatment approach to minimize risks and optimize your experience.
  • Listen to your body. If the pain during or after trigger point therapy feels concerning, say something.

Alternative pain management options:

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises: Regularly performing targeted stretches and exercises can help improve muscle flexibility and strength, reducing pain and preventing trigger points from developing.
  • Heat or ice therapy: Applying heat or ice packs to the painful area can provide temporary relief from muscle tension and discomfort.
  • Massage therapy: A gentler form of massage can help relax muscles and improve circulation, easing pain and promoting healing.

Remember, trigger point therapy can be a valuable tool for managing muscle pain, but it’s not without risks. By understanding the potential downsides and taking a cautious approach, you can maximize the benefits while minimizing the risks of this treatment.