PT Critically Appraised Topics

Document Type

Critically Appraised Topic

Publication Date


Clinical Scenario

This question was spurred on for me by a 33y/o female triathlete that I was seeing for IT band syndrome. Upon examination, I found that she had hip extension that was primarily driven by hamstring and paraspinal musculature and no gluteal recruitment for hip extension while she was running. I palpated her gluteals and found multiple, painful trigger points that could be inhibiting muscle recruitment in that area.

Clinical Question

In patients with orthopedic muscular pathologies, is the use of trigger point therapy effective in relieving pain and restoring function?

Clinical Bottom Line

After reviewing the Delaney et al. and the Nagrale et al. articles, it is apparent that trigger point therapy is effective in reducing patient’s pain and increasing their function. Both studies looked at self-reported pain rankings and also looked at objective measures such as range of motion, heart rate, and blood pressure. Both of these articles were randomized controlled trials and did a good job of supporting their use of questionnaires to assess certain outcomes. Though the Hains et al. article was founded on an interesting theory, I felt that carpal tunnel syndrome focus was a bit outside of what I was focusing on for this clinical question. Overall, I believe that trigger point therapy has been shown to improve patient pain and function and I would employ this technique in the clinic regularly when called for.