Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger Point Therapy is a technique that uses static pressure or a deep stroking motion (milking) on or across the trigger point to deactivate it. To gain maximum benefits, enough pressure is applied to the trigger point, initiating a 7/10 pain. This pain is described as a "good hurt". Moderate amounts of pain are necessary and therapeutic in that they disrupt the neurological feedback loop that maintains the trigger point.

A slow, deep, short stroke (no more than 1 stroke per second) or static pressure (holding 8-10 seconds) is applied several times to the trigger point. This repeated milking action moves the blood and lymph fluid out of the area more efficiently. The lymph contains the accumulated waste that has been generated by the continuously contracted muscle fibers.

Each time the pressure is released, fresh blood immediately flows in bringing oxygen and nutrients that the knotted muscle fibers were being deprived of.

Another benefit of the deep stroking massage is that it helps get the stretch back in the muscle fibers within the trigger point. Too much pressure or prolonged work can make the pain worse for 1-2 days or cause nausea and wooziness. This will not have a negative affect on the treatment. Shorter treatment time, less pressure and more sessions are then recommend.


A Trigger Point is a small knot/contraction in the muscle which is distinctively painful when pressure is applied. It affects the muscle by keeping it both tight and weak. At the same it also maintains a hard contraction on the muscle fibers directly connected to it, and in turn causing constant tension on the muscle's attachments. This constant tension restricts circulation, depriving the muscle tissue of oxygen and nutrients.

Trigger Points can develop in any of the 200 pairs of muscles in the body and affects adults, children and babies. Studies suggest that trigger points are a component of up to 93% of the pain seen in pain clinics. The defining symptoms of a trigger point is referred pain. Referred pain is often felt as a deep ache, although movement can sharpen the pain. Here at Anchor Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh Pa our physical therapists are experts in the field of Trigger Point Therapy.


  • Numbness/Tingling
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Sinus Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Painful Joints
  • Low Back Pain

Trigger Points can exist indefinitely in a latent state in which they don't actively refer pain, but can be activated by very little stress or strain. The pain inflicted by the trigger points may be the biggest case of disability and loss of time in any workplace, sports or around the home. That is, anywhere people are apt to overdo some activity. Trigger Point symptoms include pain, muscle stiffness, weakness, edema, nausea, dizziness and postural distortions.

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