Have you ever experienced a deep ache or burning sensation in your muscles that won’t go away, no matter how much you stretch or massage the area? If so, you might be dealing with trigger points. 

Trigger points are localized areas of muscle tissue causing pain and discomfort. And they can develop for a variety of reasons:

  • Muscle overuse
  • Injuries
  • Poor posture
  • Stress
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Use of certain medication
  • And other causes of trigger points

One study found that up to 85% of people experience trigger points at some point in their lives. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for these points can help individuals better manage their condition and improve their overall health and well-being.

In this guide, we’ll look closely at what factors cause trigger points. We’ll also discuss the different types of trigger points. And we’ll explain how they can affect your body.

What Is a Trigger Point?

Trigger points are defined as small areas within a muscle that is tender to the touch and can cause pain or discomfort when pressing. They are also known as myofascial trigger points. Since they can be in the fascia. It is connective tissue that surrounds and supports muscles.

These trigger points can develop in any muscle in the body. The pain can be palpable in the area where the trigger point is, or it can be in other parts of the body:

  • Back;
  • Neck;
  • Arms;
  • And legs.

And they can cause pain that is often described as:

  • Deep ache;
  • Burning sensation;
  • Or a sharp, stabbing pain. 

What are other trigger point symptoms? They include:

  • Stiffness;
  • Weakness;
  • And limited range of motion in the affected muscle.

They can also cause headaches, jaw pain, and other types of facial pain. These points can be treatable with a variety of methods, including:

  • Massage;
  • Stretching;
  • And trigger point injections.
cause of trigger points

What Causes Trigger Points in Your Body?

The most common causes of trigger points are muscle overuse, injury, poor posture, stress, and nutritional deficiencies.

Understanding what can cause a trigger point in your body is essential. Since this knowledge will help you prevent and manage this common condition effectively. 

By identifying the underlying causes of trigger points, you can take steps to address the root of the problem rather than simply treating the symptoms. For example, if you have a sedentary job and spend most of your day sitting, you can:

  • Be at risk of developing trigger points in your neck and shoulders. 

By learning how poor posture and prolonged sitting can contribute to trigger points, you can:

  • Make changes to your work environment. It can include:

– adjusting your chair height;

– or taking frequent breaks to stretch to reduce your risk of developing trigger points. 

If you’re an athlete or engage in repetitive motions regularly, understanding how muscle overuse can lead to trigger points can help you:

  • Incorporate proper rest and recovery techniques into your training routine. 

Overall, knowing what can cause these points can:

Let’s consider what causes trigger points in more detail:

1.Muscle Overuse

One of the most common causes of these points is muscle overuse. When a muscle is used repeatedly, it can become fatigued and develop areas of tension and spasm. And it can eventually lead to the formation of trigger points. This is often inherent in people who engage in activities with repetitive movements:

  • Athletes;
  • Musicians;
  • And office workers.

2. Muscle Injuries

Muscle injuries, such as strains and sprains, can lead to trigger points. When a muscle is injured, it can become tight and inflamed. It can cause areas of tension and spasm to develop.

3. Poor Posture

Sitting or standing in a hunched position for extended periods can cause your muscles to become imbalanced and strained.

4. Emotional or mental stress

When we experience stress, our muscles tend to:

  • Tense up;
  •  And remain in a state of tension for an extended period. 

This constant tension can lead to the formation of trigger points in the affected muscles.

5. Nutritional Deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies include magnesium and vitamin D. These nutrients are important for muscle function and health. And their deficiency can lead to muscle spasms and tension.

6. Sleep Disturbances

This cause of trigger points includes the following conditions:

  • Poor sleep posture;
  • Sleep deprivation;
  • Sleep apnea;
  • Restless leg syndrome;
  • And chronic pain conditions. 

7. Chronic fatigue

Chronic fatigue is a condition characterized by persistent tiredness. And it does not improve with rest. In chronic fatigue, the muscles can not recover from normal daily activities.  

8. Medical conditions

These are medical conditions affecting muscles or nerves, such as:

  • Fibromyalgia;
  • Or multiple sclerosis. 

Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain and tenderness in the muscles and soft tissues. 

Multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system, leading to muscle weakness and pain. 

Both of these conditions can be a cause of trigger point development. Since the muscles become overworked and stressed.

9. Dehydration or electrolyte imbalances

Dehydration or imbalances in electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium, can lead to:

  • Muscle cramping;
  • And spasms. 

These spasms can cause trigger points to develop in the affected muscles.

10. Poor circulation or vascular disease

They can reduce blood flow to the muscles. It will lead to reduced oxygen and nutrient delivery. This can cause the muscles to become tired and more susceptible to trigger points.

11. Chronic infections or inflammation

It occurs because the ongoing immune response and tissue damage can cause the muscles to contract and become hypersensitive.

12. Surgical scars or adhesions

They can restrict movement and cause the muscles to become overworked and stressed. Proper rehabilitation after surgery is necessary to prevent the formation of trigger points.

13. Use of certain medications

Certain medications, such as statins to lower cholesterol levels and corticosteroids to treat inflammation and pain, can cause muscle weakness and damage.

types of trigger points

Types of Trigger Points in the Body

There are two types of trigger points that can develop in the body: 

  • Active trigger points 
  • And latent trigger points

Active Trigger Points

This type of trigger point is an area of muscle actively causing pain or inconvenience. They are tender to the touch and can cause referred pain. It means the pain can be palpable in other body parts.

For example, an active point in the neck muscles can cause pain that is felt in:

  • Head;
  • Face;
  • Or shoulders.

These points can also cause muscle weakness and a limited range of motion in the affected area.

Latent Trigger Points

These trigger points are areas of muscle that do not actively cause aches or discomfort. 

These points are often found during a massage or physical examination. Since they are not tender to the touch unless they are deeply pressed, latent points can become active if not addressed and treated.

A Word from All Injury Rehab & Chiropractic Therapists

In conclusion, trigger points can be caused by various factors. And it’s important to understand these causes to:

  • Prevent;
  • And manage trigger points effectively. 

This will lead to improved quality of life and decreased pain and discomfort. 

All Injury Rehab & Chiropractic clinics can help with trigger points by:

  • Providing chiropractic care specifically designed to address trigger point pain and discomfort;`
  • Performing a thorough evaluation to determine the location and severity of trigger points;
  • Using a variety of techniques to relieve tension in affected muscles;
  • Providing lifestyle recommendations to prevent the development of new trigger points. 

Our clinic offers a comprehensive approach to trigger point treatment and management. We help patients achieve long-term relief from their symptoms. 

Don’t let pain hold you back any longer. Contact us today to schedule an appointment! And take the first step towards a healthier, happier you!


Should you massage trigger points?

Yes, it can be an effective way to release tension and promote healing. Still, it’s important to be gentle and use proper techniques. It will help avoid further aggravating the affected area.

What causes a lot of trigger points?

The development of many trigger points can include:
Muscle overuse;
Poor posture
And nutritional deficiencies.

Do trigger points ever go away?

Trigger points can go away on their own. But the treatment, such as massage or physical therapy, can help:
Speed up the healing process;
And reduce the likelihood of recurrence.

Are trigger points always painful?

Not all points are painful. Some of them only cause discomfort when pressing the area. But, active trigger points can cause pain and discomfort even at rest.

Can trigger points be visible on an X-ray or MRI scan?

No, trigger points cannot be directly visible on an X-ray or MRI scan. Since these points are areas of hyperirritable muscle fibers. And they do not produce structural changes in the muscle.

Can trigger points cause tingling or numbness?

Yes, trigger points can cause tingling or numbness in the affected area. This is because they can compress nearby nerves. It disrupts the nerve signals and leads to tingling or numbness.