Trigger Points – Self-treatment & Overview

Here is where I show you how to treat trigger points yourself.

First, let me explain some basics that you should watch out for.

Then, I will present you with an overview of most trigger points in the body and of course, I will show you how you can “work them out” with a self-massage.

1. You Can Treat Trigger Points Yourself!

The means of choice is a precise self-massage, that focuses on the trigger point.

Uncoordinated rubbing around on the muscle in question will not help.

If you want to treat a trigger point yourself it is of utmost importance that you find precisely the spot.

Since it is usually difficult to feel these points, just focus on the most painful point at the sensitive spot in the muscle.

  • Trigger points are most painful when manipulated exactly at their “centre”. Even with the smallest deviations of +/- 2mm the reduction in pain can be drastic.
  • So, you should always focus on the most painful point of a sensitive area in the muscle to be sure you are working in the right place.
  • Unless of course, you are pressing on a nerve. This can be also very painful and should be avoided.
  • You will be shown the location of these “at risk” areas here on the site.

Do not overdo it when treating yourself!

  • Massage the most painful point of a sensitive area, but do not maximize the pain!
  • If you do, you will overwhelm or confuse your nervous system even more, which can temporarily aggravate your pain.
  • On a pain scale of 1 to 10, you should be in the area of 4 to 7
  • The pain felt during the massage should not exceed this level; simply apply enough pressure so that the pain remains “bearable”.

2. Trigger Points: Overview

Trigger points can occur in almost any skeletal muscle of the body.

Below you will find a trigger point overview, presented according to the area of the body.

2.1 Trigger Points in the nape of the neck & neck


The scalene muscles are three muscles that are attached to the cervical spine and can trigger various forms of pain. Among other, it can cause shoulder and upper arm pain or thoracic outlet syndrome.

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Splenius capitis & cervicis

Quite often, the splenius muscles are involved in neck pain and react to emotional stress.

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The Sternocleidomastoid/SCM is an important muscle to have a look at in people suffering from headaches.

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Suboccipital muscles

The suboccipital muscles often trigger headaches.

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The trapezius often triggers shoulder, neck, head and back pain.

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2.2 Trigger points in the head, face and jaw


The buccinator is a muscle of your face, and can cause pain on the cheek, among other things.

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The digastricus can cause pain in the jaw and discomfort in the throat.

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The masseter often causes jaw pain.

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The frontalis and occipitalis together form the occipitofrontalis.

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The platysma can cause pain in the face

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Lateral pterygoid

The lateral pterygoid can cause jaw pain.

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Medial pterygoid

The medial pterygoid often causes jaw pain, too.

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The temporalis often triggers pain at the temple.

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2.3 Trigger points in the shoulder, chest and upper back


A trp in the deltoid often cause pain in the shoulder joint, leading to limited mobility.

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The infraspinatus is a muscle of the rotator cuff and is often involved in shoulder pain.

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Intercostal muscles

The intercostales are muscles between your ribs.

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Latissimus dorsi

The latissimus dorsi is a large muscle of the back and can trigger pain in the back, shoulder and arms.

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2.4 Trigger points of the back, abdomen and hips

Gluteus maximus

The gluteus maximus is often responsible for stiffness and pain in the lower back.

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Gluteus medius

The gluteus medius is nicknamed the lumbago muscle because it is a key muscle when it comes to back pain! It should definitely be looked into together with the quadratus lumborum!

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Gluteus minimus

The gluteus minimus can cause “sciatica pain”

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The iliopsoas is a strong hip flexor that can cause pain in the upper thigh and back.

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Erector spinae

The erector spinae runs along the entire spine and can lead to stomach, back, and lower back pain.

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The Piriformis can cause pain in the buttocks and the back of the thighs.

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Quadratus lumborum

The quadratus lumborum is a muscle in the area of your lumbar spine and is often overlooked in back problems. Make sure to examine it!

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Rectus abdominis

The rectus abdominis is the straight abdominal muscle. It is very vulnerable to emotional stress and bad posture.

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Tensor fasciae latae

The Tensor fasciae latae / TFL is one of your hip flexors.

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2.5 Trigger Points in the upper arms and elbows

2.6 Trigger points in the forearms and elbows

2.7 Trigger points in the hands and wrists

2.8 Trigger points in the thighs


Adductors can cause a variety of problems in the legs and hips.

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This muscle group often leads to pain in the thigh and the hollow of the knee.

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Quadriceps femoris

The quadriceps is a large muscle of your thigh

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The Sartorius can trigger pain on the inside of the thigh.

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2.9 Trigger points in the lower legs: Knee – Ankle


The gastrocnemius is a superficial muscle of your calf.

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Peroneus longus, brevis & tertius

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The Plantaris often causes knee pain.

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The popliteus causes pain in the hollow of the knee.

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The Soleus lies deep in the calf

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Tibialis anterior

The tibialis anterior is a muscle that lifts your foot.

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Tibialis posterior

The tibialis posterior lies deep in your calf.

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