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About the “Big Red Books” by Drs. Travell & Simons: Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual

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Janet Travell, David Simons, and Lois Simons
Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
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PainSci notes

The “big red books” by Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons are a two-volume set of texts about so-called trigger points and myofascial pain syndrome. Early versions and editions were extremely influential in world of massage and physical therapy starting in the 1980s and continuing well into the 21st Century. Arguably the are the most influential texts in that field.

The introductory chapters present a good overview of the subject, if somewhat technical and now quite dated. The books are brilliantly illustrated, for what it’s worth, and those drawings will probably influence the field for decades to come, the compelling iconography of a clinical paradigm.

Although a landmark work, more recent information has been published in Muscle Pain: Understanding its nature, diagnosis and treatment by Siegfried Mense and David Simons, and there are many reasonable questions and doubts about almost everything Travell and Simons thought and wrote about this topic “back in the day.”

~ Paul Ingraham, PainSci Publisher

Related Content

  1. “Myofascial pain: a bogus construct,” a chapter in the book Myofascial pain, by John L Quintner and Milton L Cohen.
  2. “An expansion of Simons' integrated hypothesis of trigger point formation,” Gerwin et al, Curr Pain Headache Rep, 2004.
  3. Mini-bio for "Dr. David Simons" on
  4. Mini-bio for "Dr. Janet Travell" on
  5. The trigger point therapy workbook: your self-treatment guide for pain relief (book), by Clair Davies and Amber Davies.
  6. Muscle pain: understanding its nature, diagnosis and treatment (book), by Siegfried Mense, David G Simons, and IJ Russell. ❐

These fifteen articles on cite this item as a source:

  1. Massage Therapy for Tension Headaches
  2. Massage Therapy for Neck Pain, Chest Pain, Arm Pain, and Upper Back Pain
  3. Massage Therapy for Tennis Elbow and Wrist Pain
  4. Massage Therapy for Bruxism, Jaw Clenching, and TMJ Syndrome
  5. The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain
  6. The Complete Guide to Low Back Pain
  7. The Complete Guide to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
  8. Tennis Elbow Guide
  9. The Complete Guide to Neck Pain & Cricks
  10. The Respiration Connection
  11. A Cranky Review of Dr. John Sarno’s Books & Ideas
  12. Review of The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook
  13. Micro Muscles and the Dance of the Sarcomeres
  14. Trigger Point Doubts
  15. Trigger Points on Trial