Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 386–392 | Cite as

Latent Myofascial Trigger Points

  • Hong-You Ge
  • Lars Arendt-Nielsen


A latent myofascial trigger point (MTP) is defined as a focus of hyperirritability in a muscle taut band that is clinically associated with local twitch response and tenderness and/or referred pain upon manual examination. Current evidence suggests that the temporal profile of the spontaneous electrical activity at an MTP is similar to focal muscle fiber contraction and/or muscle cramp potentials, which contribute significantly to the induction of local tenderness and pain and motor dysfunctions. This review highlights the potential mechanisms underlying the sensory-motor dysfunctions associated with latent MTPs and discusses the contribution of central sensitization associated with latent MTPs and the MTP network to the spatial propagation of pain and motor dysfunctions. Treating latent MTPs in patients with musculoskeletal pain may not only decrease pain sensitivity and improve motor functions, but also prevent latent MTPs from transforming into active MTPs, and hence, prevent the development of myofascial pain syndrome.


Joint range of motion Latent myofascial trigger points Muscle cramp Muscle fatigue Myofascial pain Myofascial trigger point Pain Spontaneous electrical activity Taut band Tenderness Muscle fiber contraction Sensorimotor dysfunction Sensory-motor dysfunction Motor dysfunction Neuromuscular hyperexcitability Motor unit hyperexcitability Adenosine triphosphate ATP Musculoskeletal pain Muscle weakness Accelerated fatigability Dry needling Central sensitization 



No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction (SMI), Department of Health Science and TechnologyAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark

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