Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ


I've been told the pain in my neck and shoulder is caused by chronic trigger points. Is there any way to treat this problem?


Trigger point (TrP) is a term used to describe a painful area in the muscle about the size of your fingertip. The area underneath it is often a tight band of tissue. Pressing on this spot causes a full-blown pattern of pain in the tissue around the TrP.

Doctors aren't sure what happens inside the muscle to cause a TrPs. There are several theories. We do know repeated motions or prolonged activity or postures bring them on. Sitting at the computer and typing for hours every day is just one example of what can cause TrPs in the neck and shoulders.

TrPs are painful and can interfere with daily activities. Treating them may improve the patient's pain and function. TrPs can be treated by a physical or occupational therapist. The therapist may use ultrasound, stretching, biofeedback, and postural exercises.

The therapist will also help you find out what is bringing on the TrPs. Change in workstation or lifestyle may be needed to get rid of them for good.

Javid Majlesi, MD, and Halil Ünalan, MD. High-Power Pain Threshold Ultrasound Technique in the Treatment of Active Myofascial Trigger Points: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Case-Control Study. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. May 2004. Vol. 85. No. 5. Pp. 833-836.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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