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Medical Pack

Trigger points versus tender points
Tender points are the specific areas of tenderness used for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. They produce a painful response when pressed upon, but do not refer pain to any other part of the body. Tender points usually occur in pairs so they are distributed equally on both sides of the body.


Trigger points are responsible for myofascial pain and can occur in an acute and chronic state. They are not specific to fibromyalgia, but often occur in conjunction and are magnified by pain amplification.

These highly irritable nodules of exquisite tenderness are located in a palpable taut band of muscle tissue and arise when overstimulated sarcomeres become unable to release from their contracted state. Trigger points always hurt when pressed upon and refer pain to other areas of the body in a predicted manner.

For example, a trigger point in the sternocleidomastoid muscle refers pain to the front, top and back of the head and the jaw. Trigger points can be latent or active and can vary in irritability from day-to-day.

They can cause muscle weakness and restricted range of motion as well as pain. It is important to identify symptoms that are caused by trigger points and to treat them accordingly.

A useful reference to identify the predictable patterns and treatment of trigger points is The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Clair Davies.







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