Blood Flow Within Active Myofascial Trigger Points Following Massage

Posted:Saturday, July 19, 2014

Albert Moraska, PhD
University of Colorado at Denver
Aurora, CO

Myofascial pain syndromes are associated with a high percentage of chronic pain disorders and are characterized by the presence of myofascial trigger points (MTrPs). Massage therapy has been shown to be effective at alleviating myofascial pain presenting as back pain or tension-type headache and specifically reduce point tenderness associated with MTrPs. However, mechanisms by which massage therapy exerts an effect are poorly understood. The MTrP is a tightly contacted nodule within skeletal muscle and research evidence suggests it impedes blood flow, subsequently causing tissue distress and production of pain evoking chemicals. The purpose of this research study is to investigate blood flow at the MTrP following massage to provide inroads into a mechanism of action for massage in the treatment of myofascial pain and MTrPs. Research subjects with myofascial pain expressed as tension-type headache and an active MTrP in the upper trapezius muscle will be randomly assigned to receive trigger point release massage or a control treatment at the MTrP. Interstitial fluid within the MTrP will be collected before and after massage from which markers to assess blood flow will be determined.