Myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) are hyperirritable points located within a taut band of skeletal muscle or fascia, which create referred pain, local tenderness and autonomic changes when compressed. There are essential differences between the effects created by the two basic types of MTrPs (active and latent). Active trigger points (ATrPs) usually produce referred pain and tenderness. On the other hand, latent trigger points (LTrPs) are foci of hyperirritability in a taut band of muscle, which are clinically connected with a local twitch response, tenderness and/or referred pain upon manual examination. LTrPs may be found in many pain-free skeletal muscles and may be “activated” and converted to ATrPs by continuous detrimental stimuli. ATrPs can be inactivated by different treatment strategies; although, they do not completely disappear but instead are change to the latent form. Therefore, the diagnosis and treatment of LTrPs is important. The authors composed this review to highlight the clinical implication of LTrPs.
Out of all 291 conditions studied in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study, neck pain ranked 4th highest in terms of disability and 21st in terms of overall burden.