Chiropractic Health Care           
Center of Hamden
, LLc

Dr. Bryan W. Barry
2821 Old Dixwell Avenue Hamden, Ct 06518
P: 203-288-2821                       F: 203-288-2854
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Chiropractic Care and Trigger Points-   

Chiropractic Care and Trigger Points
Trigger points or myofascial trigger points (MFTP) are persistent localized muscle spasms
and pockets of inflammation between layers of muscle and connective fascial tissue that
can cause a great deal of pain and tenderness. Trigger points alone may be responsible
for many cases of neck, upper back, scapular, shoulder and lower back pain. This
relationship is fairly common knowledge among physicians who treat pain, including
chiropractors, rheumatologists, and physiatrists (doctors of physical medicine).

What is not generally known is that trigger points may also be implicated in radiating pain
into the arm and hand or radiating pain into the leg and foot. In fact, radiating pain due to
trigger points may be mistaken for pain caused by a herniated disc, in either the neck or
lower back. Trigger point pain affecting the wrist and hand may even be misdiagnosed as
carpal tunnel syndrome. A patient in whom a correct diagnosis of trigger point pain is
missed may lose much precious time and other resources, as one "tries" one doctor after
another and needlessly undergoes all sorts of complex and costly testing.

The key to correctly identifying the source and cause of upper or lower extremity radiating
pain is to be able to accurately characterize its nature. Radiating pain caused by trigger
points is diffuse - the pain broadly covers a region. This diffuse pain is described as
"scleratogenous", meaning that it is pain referred from connective tissue such as muscle
and tendon. Radiating pain caused by a compressed spinal nerve (ultimately caused by a
herniated disc, for example) is described as "radicular" or "dermatomal". This pain is
confined to a specific area - the area that is supplied by a specific spinal nerve. For
example, pain involving the thumb and index finger could be caused by compression of
the C6 spinal nerve. Pain involving the outside of the foot and the little toe could be
caused by compression of the S1 spinal nerve.

Scleratogenous pain is not specific. A person might complain of pain across the "shawl"
portion of the upper back and traveling into the upper arm, experienced "all over" the
upper arm. Another person might be experiencing pain across the gluteal region, hip, and
upper thigh. Both of these patterns of radiating pain are likely due to several trigger
points, localized to the respective areas.

Of course, an accurate diagnosis is necessary to be able to develop an effective
treatment strategy.  The combination of the history, examination, and diagnostic studies
will allow your Chiropractor to reach a specific diagnosis, which will help the doctor
determine whether your condition will respond to conservative chiropractic care.
Your Chiropractor will explain the report of findings: the diagnosed condition, chiropractic
treatment plan (or other recommended treatments) and the anticipated length of care.  
The good news is that although trigger points necessarily represent a chronic muscular
process, they may be treated with very good to excellent outcomes using conservative
protocols. Chiropractic and acupuncture care is the optimal method for managing trigger
point pain. Chiropractic care is a drug-free approach which directly addresses the
biomechanical causes of these persistent trigger points and their associated patterns of
radiating pain. Chiropractic care improves mobility and restores function, helping to
reduce and resolve chronic pain.  Acupuncture utilizes tiny sterile needles that can be
inserted to break up the fibrous bands causing pain, inflammation and spasm.

Ready to finally get rid of that chronic pain? We are always available for a FREE
consultation to discuss your health concerns in private.  Visit for
great health information or call 203-288-2821 to speak with Dr. Barry directly.