What’s the difference between a trigger point and a fascial adhesion? Are they the same thing?
This is another question I get asked all the time. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
My understanding (as someone who hasn’t been trained in trigger point therapy) is that a trigger point REFERS pain to a different area of your body when pressed.
There’s going to be fascia there of course, because there’s fascia everywhere! It may or may not be in “adhesion” form, though. It could just be dense or restricted fascia causing some referral pain.
Yet, not every fascial adhesion causes referred pain when “triggered” by compression. So I would argue that no, trigger points are not the same thing as a fascial adhesion. However, there is some overlap here.
My opinion, based on working with thousands of people in pain since 2008 using fascia release, is that you do not need to locate trigger points to get out of pain.
I also wonder whether trigger points behave the way they do because of the compression itself (rather than indicating anything about your pain).
Dense unhealthy fascia, when compressed, can cut off blood supply and nerve communication, which might trigger a sensation response in your body that you label “pain.” Usually, these sensations are very different from, say, knee pain or back pain.
For example, you’ll notice that in all my videos on scalenes (a muscle group in your neck) I talk about a potential numb referral pain down your arm or into your back…there are not necessarily adhesions there, but when really “tight” and compressed, this area causes a referred pain in myself and many of my clients. However, after some consistent efforts to release the fascia here, the referral pain goes away.
I believe that any area referring pain when compressed merely indicates VERY restricted fascia (which may or may not be related to your pain).
As you can see, there’s some nuance and grey area here. These are my opinions, but I don’t claim to know everything. Please share your thoughts below so we can create a discussion about this topic! I’ll see you there 🙂
Blog post/video: Is pain always related to fascia? https://mobilitymastery.com/is-pain-always-related-to-fascia/
Blog post/video on the “clunk” – muscle belly or fascial adhesion?