The following is a Trigger Point Therapy Definition by the American Family of Physicians[i]
We do not agree with this entire definition, but it's a great starting place to learn what a trigger point is:
Trigger points are discrete, focal, hyperirritable spots located in a taut band of skeletal muscle. They produce pain locally and in a referred pattern and often accompany chronic musculoskeletal disorders. Acute trauma or repetitive microtrauma may lead to the development of stress on muscle fibers and the formation of trigger points. Patients may have regional, persistent pain resulting in a decreased range of motion in the affected muscles. These include muscles used to maintain body posture, such as those in the neck, shoulders, and pelvic girdle. Trigger points may also manifest as tension headache, tinnitus, temporomandibular joint pain, decreased range of motion in the legs, and low back pain. Palpation of a hypersensitive bundle or nodule of muscle fiber of harder than normal consistency is the physical finding typically associated with a trigger point. Palpation of the trigger point will elicit pain directly over the affected area and/or cause radiation of pain toward a zone of reference and a local twitch response. Various modalities, such as the Spray and Stretch technique, ultrasonography, manipulative therapy and injection, are used to inactivate trigger points. Trigger-point injection has been shown to be one of the most effective treatment modalities to inactivate trigger points and provide prompt relief of symptoms.
Sometimes accessing a trigger point can be a little difficult. When it comes to trigger points mastication, it can be a little more challenging.
In this trigger point therapy massage instructor demonstration, we will show you how we teach students to access and treat trigger points intraorally:
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[i] lvarez, David J., and Pamela G. Rockwell. “Trigger Points: Diagnosis and Management.” American Family Physician, 15 Feb. 2002, www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0215/p653.html.