Original research| Volume 97, ISSUE 9, P1533-1541, September 2016

Latent Trigger Points: What Are the Underlying Predictors?

Published:March 10, 2016DOI:



      To determine the factors predicting the presence and number of latent trigger points (LTrPs) in healthy individuals.


      Cross-sectional study.


      Local faculty of health sciences.


      Healthy individuals (N=242) were divided into 2 groups: group 1, those without LTrPs (n=68); and group 2, those with LTrPs (n=174).



      Main Outcome Measures

      Disability was assessed using the Quick-Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire and the Neck Pain and Disability Scale. Psychological factors were evaluated using the Brief Symptom Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Perceived Stress Scale. Quality of life was evaluated using the Short-Form-12; smoking habits were determined with questions about current smoking status; and pain level was assessed using the visual analog scale. The LTrP assessment was made with a pinching movement or flat palpation bilaterally.


      By using a hierarchical regression model, we entered age, depression, and pain level into the first block, which explained a significant amount of variance in the presence and number of LTrPs (R2=.041; P=.033 and R2=.197; P<.001, respectively). Pain level contributed independently the presence of LTrPs, whereas age and pain level predicted the number of LTrPs (P<.05).


      This study found that pain and age were significant predictors of the number of LTrPs, but only pain predicted the presence of LTrPs in healthy individuals.


      List of abbreviations:

      ATrP (active trigger point), BDI (Beck Depression Inventory), BSI (Brief Symptom Inventory), LTrP (latent trigger point), NPAD (Neck Pain and Disability Scale), PSS (Perceived Stress Scale), SF-12 (Short Form-12), STAI (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), TrP (trigger point)
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