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Trigger points & tender points: 1 & the same? Does injection treatment help?

  [ 74 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Borg-Stein J, Stein J • • May 12, 1996

Trigger points are defined as areas of muscle that are painful to
palpation and are characterized by the presence of taut bands
and the generation of a referral pattern of pain. Tender
points are areas of tenderness occurring in muscle,
muscle-tendon junction, bursa, or fat pad. When tender points
occur in a widespread manner, they are usually considered
characteristic of fibromyalgia. Trigger points, which
typically occur in a more restricted regional pattern, are
indicative of myofascial pain syndrome. In some patients the
two phenomena may coexists, and overlap syndromes can occur.
Although experienced examiners can generally identify the
same tender points, interrater reliability of trigger points
has been low in most studies. There is continued controversy
regarding the defining characteristics and homogeneity of
myofascial pain because of the variability of the examination
findings. In appropriately selected patients, it appears that
myofascial trigger point injections can be helpful in
decreasing pain and improving range of motion in conjunction
with a comprehensive exercise and rehabilitation program.

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