[Trigger points - Diagnosis and treatment concepts with special reference to extracorporeal shockwaves]

Orthopade. 2012 Feb;41(2):113-25. doi: 10.1007/s00132-011-1860-0.
[Article in German]


The 70-year-old trigger point theory has experienced a growing scientific confirmation and clinical significance as a consequence of recent muscle pain research. The trigger point pain formation is caused by high levels of vasoneuroactive substances. Depending on intensity and duration of the muscle stimulus the central pain processing is modified and leads to characteristic referred pain patterns. The most effective conventional forms of treatment are aimed at a direct mechanical manipulation of the trigger point as are new forms of therapy with focused and radial shockwaves. By using high pressures the focused shockwaves in particular are suitable to provoke local and referred pain and thus simplify the trigger point diagnosis. The empirically found therapeutic effect of shockwaves on muscles is hypothetical and can be explained in analogy with validated reactions of shockwaves in non-muscle tissues. Overall, the shockwave therapy on muscles represents a confirmation and extension of the existing trigger point therapy. It seems to be suitable for treating functional muscular disorders and myofascial pain syndromes within the locomotor system.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / prevention & control*
  • Sonication / methods*
  • Trigger Points*