Myofascial trigger points.
Painful conditions of the musculoskeletal system, including myofascial pain syndrome, constitute some of the most important chronic problems encountered in a clinical practice. A myofascial trigger point is a hyperirritable spot, usually within a taut band of skeletal muscle, which is painful on compression and can give rise to characteristic referred pain, motor dysfunction, and autonomic phenomena. Trigger points may be relieved through noninvasive measures, such as spray and stretch, transcutaneous electrical stimulation, physical therapy, and massage. Invasive treatments for myofascial trigger points include injections with local anesthetics, corticosteroids, or botulism toxin or dry needling. The etiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of myofascial trigger points are addressed in this article.