Fascia and trigger points combine to cause pain.

The term “myofascial” is the combination of two Latin words: ‘myo’ which means muscle, and ‘fascia’ which is the connective tissue in and around the muscle. Myofascial trigger points (also called contraction knots) are hypersensitive segments of a muscle fiber called a sarcomere which keeps a portion of the muscle or surrounding soft tissues contracted.

Trigger points can cause pain, tingling, burning, weakness, and restricted motion.

Pain Points, Trigger Points Nebraska


In the 1950’s Dr. Janet Travell discovered when muscles are traumatized through accidents, sports, occupation, or disease, myofascial trigger points are formed in the muscles. Tightness, aching, sore, and painful muscles, and fascia usually take years to develop. Myofascial pain and dysfunction is cumulative over all the years you have lived. This means surgery or a fall or injury you sustained as a child can be part of the discomfort you are experiencing now. And of course, the recent injury from a Motor Vehicle or Workers Compensation Accident can not only cause immediate pain, but problems months—even years—later.

Dr. Travells’ research demonstrates that each muscle has a specific pattern of referred pain. This means a myofascial trigger point can produce pain (or triggering pain) in a predictable pattern, both where it is located and in another area of the body.

Since Dr. Travells’ original research on muscular trigger points, science has shown a significant relationship between the action and properties of fascia and muscular trigger points. Fascia contracts to aid in movement but also can cause pain and restriction in movement.


Studies have shown that as many as 95% of all pain patients seeking medical intervention for pain also had myofascial trigger points.

Myofascial trigger points are frequently overlooked or misunderstood as a source of myofascial pain.

Myofascial pain can mimic the pain of many other medical conditions including chest pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, migraine headaches, and many more. Thus, it is frequently overlooked as a source of the pain causing the symptoms.

Once a trigger point is formed, it can be there for life unless properly treated.

If left untreated, trigger points tend to cause the formation of more trigger points. Pain associated with multiple trigger points is often referred to as “Myofascial Pain Syndrome”.

Indicators that trigger points are present:

  • Muscles are sensitive to pressure
  • Stiff or tight feeling
  • Headaches
  • Dull, aching, or burning pain in muscles
  • Pain going down the arm or leg
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Unpredictable, erratic symptoms
  • Heat eases the pain
Nebraska Massage, Trigger Point Therapy


Scalene Pain Pattern

Scalene Trigger Point Pain Pattern

Trigger Points (X) in the Scalene muscles of the neck have a referral pain pattern that can mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. There are a total of six muscles that can mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pain. The solid red indicates the essential pain pattern.

Long Muscles of the Back Pain Pattern

Trigger Points (X) in the long muscles of the back (iliocostalis and longissimus) can refer pain into the mid to low back and buttock. Essential pain pattern is marked by solid red.

Longissimus Thoracis Pain Pattern
Trapezius Pain Pattern

Trapezius Trigger Point Pain Pattern

Trapezius Trigger Points (X) often refer pain into the upper back, neck and head. Posture problems are often a perpetuating factor when trigger points in this muscle are present. The essential pain caused by this muscle is represented by solid red.

Vastus Lateralis Trigger Point Pain Pattern

Vastus Lateralis Trigger Points (X) can refer pain to the knee. Other Trigger Points in this muscle and the close by Fascia Lata can restrict patellar mobility or send a “bolt” of lightening pain that prevents sleeping on the affected side.

Vastus Lateralis Pain Pattern
Pectoralis Major Pain Pattern

Pectoralis Major Trigger Point Pain Pattern

Pectoralis Major Trigger Points (X) referral pain in the chest and arm can mimic chest pain often associated with a heart attack. Solid red indicates the essential pain pattern.

Quadriceps Femoris Trigger Point Pain Pattern

Pain pattern referred from a common Trigger Point (X) in the Vasus Intermedius muscle. The solid red indicates the essential pain pattern many people experience.

Quadriceps Pain Pattern
Gluteus Minimus Pain Pattern

Gluteus Minimus Trigger Point Pain Pattern

Trigger points (X) in the Gluteus Minimus can refer pain into the buttock and down the leg. Essential pain pattern is indicated in solid red.

SCM Trigger Points in the Neck

SCM Trigger Points (X) in the neck refer pain to areas in the head that can mimic migraine headaches. The essential pain pattern is solid red.

SCM Pain Pattern


First, we’ll evaluate your pain and address the trigger point source, then relieve the pain, retrain your muscles to prevent relapses and provide you with an assessment of activities that may cause trigger point irritation. Reach out to schedule an appointment at our clinic in Lincoln, Nebraska.