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External Oblique Muscles 



 Abdominal Pain and Trigger Points




External Oblique Muscles

Similarly to the other abdominal muscles, external oblique myofascial trigger points can refer pain anywhere locally throughout the abdominal region.

This pain is often exacerbated during the menstrual cycle. Pain can refer down into the groin and sometimes to the testicles.


External Oblique Muscles Trigger Point Therapy




The posterior fibers of the external oblique are usually overlapped by the latissimus dorsi, but in some cases there is a space between the two, known as the lumbar triangle, situated just above the iliac crest.

The lumbar triangle is a weak point in the abdominal wall.


External Oblique Trigger Points

External Oblique Muscle - Common Trigger Point Sites



Lower eight ribs.


Anterior half of iliac crest, and into an abdominal aponeurosis that terminates in the linea alba (a tendinous band extending downward from the sternum).


Compresses abdomen, helping to support abdominal viscera against pull of gravity. Contraction of one side alone bends trunk laterally to that side and rotates it to opposite side.


Ventral rami of thoracic nerves, T5–T12.

Basic Functional Movement

Example: digging with a shovel.

Trigger Point Referred Pain Patterns

Costal margin: abdominal pain to chest.
Lower lateral: testicular pain. Local pain.
Pubic rim: bladder pain. Frequency/ retention (urine). Groin.



"Pain can refer down into the groin and sometimes to the testicles"



Abdominal pain and tenderness, groin pain, testicular pain, bladder pain, nausea, colic, dysmenorrhea, diarrhea, viscerosomatic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, lower crossed pattern, bedwetting in children.

Common Causes

Direct trauma (commonly from overexertion during sports), poor sit-up technique, prolonged cross- legged sitting, coughing, emotional stress, may be related to back pain, post-surgical (abdominal).

Differential Diagnosis

Visceral pathology including: renal, hepatic, pancreatic, diverticular disease, colitis, appendicitis, hiatus hernia, peritoneal disease—pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian, bladder.


Transversus abdominis, internal oblique, rectus abdominis, pyramidalis.


External Oblique Trigger Point Pain

External Oblique Trigger Points - Typical Referred Pain Pattern (Lower Fibers)



External Oblique Muscles Trigger Points

External Oblique Trigger Points - Typical Referred Pain Pattern (Lateral view, upper and lower fibers)



Find a Trigger Point Professional in your area

More Articles About Groin Pain

Treating Abdominal Pain

Abdominal Muscle Strain

Dry Needling for Trigger Points

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This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell. 


 Trigger Point Illustrations: With Thanks to Lotus Publishing Ltd 






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