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Treating Trigger Points in the Trapezius


Trigger Point Therapy - Where to Start?


Research supports the use of taping as a treatment aid in managing shoulder impingement problems

Subacromial impingement syndrome is the most common shoulder complaint in orthopedic clinics (44–65%) and the most frequent cause of shoulder pain in over-arm athletes.

Many factors, such as trigger points, anatomic morphology, overuse, and instability of the glenohumeral joint, have been shown to contribute to the occurrence of the subacromial impingement.

In addition, the role of the scapular controlling the impingement problems of the overarm athletes has aroused major interests after the Kibler’s report (Kibler, 1998).

The scapula, along with the humerus, clavicle, and thorax, makes up the shoulder complex.

The scapula plays the key link between the upper extremity and the axial skeleton, and the musculature around it provides the proximal stability for the upper extremity activities.This function is important particularly for overarm athletes such as baseball players.

These athletes must possess a stabilized scapula and the coordinated motion between the scapula and the humerus to deliver repetitive overarm movements with great speed and power.

Studies have revealed that scapular dysfunction might lead to a vicious cycle involving micro-trauma and chronic pain conditions and relate to the shoulder pain often suffered by baseball players.



Taping for Trigger Points - Research

A study published in the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology (2008), investigated the effect of elastic taping on kinematics, muscle activity and strength of the scapular region in baseball players with shoulder impingement.

Seventeen baseball players with shoulder impingement were recruited from three amateur base-ball teams. All subjects received both elastic Kinesio taping and placebo taping over the lower trapezius muscle.

The study measured the 3-dimensional scapular motion, electromyographic (EMG) activities of the upper and lower trapezius, and the serratus anterior muscles during arm elevation.

Strength of the lower trapezius was tested prior to and after each taping application.

The results of the analyses of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures showed that the elastic taping significantly increased the scapular posterior tilt at 30° and 60° during arm raising and increased the lower trapezius muscle activity in the 60–30° arm lowering phase in comparison to the placebo taping.


The conclusions of this study included the observation that elastic taping resulted in positive changes in scapular motion and muscle performance. The results supported its use as a treatment aid in managing shoulder impingement problems.

Stuart Hinds is widely recognized for his expertise in working with Elite Athletes. Stuart has played a key role in soft tissue support with the Australian Olympic Team (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012) for over 15 years.

Source: The effects of taping on scapular kinematics and muscle performancein baseball players with shoulder impingement syndromeYin-Hsin Hsua, Wen-Yin Chena,b,1, Hsiu-Chen Linc,1, Wendy T.J. Wanga,b, Yi-Fen Shiha,b

Other relevant research

Kelle, B., Guzel, R., & Sakall, H., (2015). The effect of kinesio taping application for acute non-specific low back pain: A randomised controlled clinical trial. Clinical Rehabilitation doi: 10.1177/0269215515603218

Pamuk, U., & Yucesoy, C.A., (2015) MRI analyses show that kinesio taping affects much more than just the targeted superficial tissues and causes heterogenous deformations within the whole limb. Journal of Biomechanics http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.10.036

Ahn, I.K., Kim, Y.L., Bae, Y., & Lee, S.M., (2015). Immediate effects of kinesiology taping of quadriceps on motor performance after muscle fatigued induction. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicinehttp://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/410526

Zhang, S., Fu, W., Pan, L., Xia, R., & Kiu, Y., (2015). Acute effects of Kinesio taping on muscle strength and fatigue in the forearm of tennis players. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2015.07.012

Szczegielniak, J., Luniewski, J., Bogacz, K., & Sliwinski, Z., (2012). The use of Kinesio Taping for physiotherapy of patients with rheumatoid hand- pilot study. Ortopaedia, Traumatologica & Rehabilitacja 14, 23-30.

Song, C., Huang, H., Chen, S., Lin, J., & Chang, A.H., (2015). Effects of femoral rotation taping on pain, lower extremity kinematics, and muscle activation in female patients with patello-femoral pain. Journal of Science & Medicine in Sport 18 (4) 388-393




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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. 




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