Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Good quality summaries of most important scientific papers about trigger points

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Last week I published two new articles about the controversial science of trigger points, for a total of three articles and ~16,000 words on this topic:

  1. a heavily referenced review of the evidence that a trigger point is a “tiny cramp”
  2. a summary of the academic controversy about trigger point science
  3. the story of my own doubts and how they’ve changed over the years (this is the “main” article on this theme; it was around before but has been revised heavily)

Most of the attention was focused on the announcement, which included the highlights of my current views in about a dozen bullet points. Relatively few people have actually read the new articles, understandable given their length and density. I published these because I had to: because it’s critical to establish and maintain my credibility as an author on this topic. In that spirit, there’s one more thing I want to highlight: the insane amount of work I put into the referencing. is known for good footnotes, but I really raised the bar this time, because I personally wanted to understand. (I always do, of course, but even more this time!) So I busted my ass reading and painstakingly reviewing and summarizing a lot of key science. These bibliography pages could stand alone as a series of blog posts about the science of trigger points. So, here they are, featured for their own sake. It’s not all of the relevant science, not by a long shot, but these are the highlights, the most important and/or the ones I put the most work into grokking: