Musculoskeletal pain is a major cause of disability. Myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) in particular are a common source of pain in a substantial number of patients presenting at a pain clinic. Many different invasive and non-invasive forms have been advocated to the treatment of MTrPs. However, favourable outcome rates are inconsistent and some of these treatment forms described are often painful and have potentially dangerous side effects. Photomedicine including the coherent light sources (lasers) and more recently, non-coherent light sources have been reported to be beneficial in soft tissue lesions including MTrPs. Their beneficial therapeutic effects can be obtained without undesired effects. The main intentions of this chapter are to bring the attention of the doctors and physical therapists to the scientific approach of photomedicine, in particular laser therapy for the relief of pain arising from MTrPs, and to demonstrate how this type of therapy can be utilized in a rational manner for the relief of musculoskeletal pain. In addition, it has been found necessary to include or to start with an overview of the recently recognized diagnostic and therapeutic importance of MTrPs. Attention will therefore first be drawn mainly to incidence, types, aetiology, clinical diagnostic criteria and conventional forms of MTrPs.
Part of the book: Photomedicine