Your multimedia devices like tablets and iPad can be put to good use with the help of highly innovative apps like Trigger Point Anatomy – an app that explains the anatomy and physiology of trigger points in great detail. The amazing team of Real Bodywork developed this incredible tool for early referencing, easy viewing and spot diagnosis of musculoskeletal conditions.

Why do you need Trigger Point Anatomy?

Musculoskeletal pain is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among individuals of all age groups. According to a new study reported in the British Medical Journal (1), the prevalence of chronic musculoskeletal pain (discomfort and pain lasting for more than 3 months) is 46 to 76%. The clinical data indicates that proper identification of the causative agents and pathological triggers can help in reducing the risk of recurrent myofascial pain. However, unfortunately, the diagnostic and rehabilitation process is quite challenging for both physicians as well as physiotherapists.

Here is why:

  • The construction and alignment of connective tissue components is complex and requires a sound understanding of individual muscles as well as ligaments, tendons and other supporting structures.
  • Due to dermatome distribution, the exact location of pain is difficult to determine with absolute precision.
  • Same is true for the nerve supply and neurological perception of pain that is highly variable depending on the site of involvement and nature of tissues affected.

In simple words, optimal knowledge of how musculoskeletal complex works and how pain is referred via trigger points help in optimal self-management as well as physiotherapist training.

Brief overview of Trigger Point Anatomy – for Physiotherapists

Trigger point anatomy – for physiotherapists allow users to select from over 70 muscles in the human body to understand basic anatomy of each muscle with the help of detailed explanation and photos to develop a basic orientation. You can then select individual muscle and learn in depth about:

  • Anatomy of major muscles according to orientation and location in the body
  • Determination of common trigger points in different muscles and zones
  • Pattern of referred pain

How it works:

User Interface: The home screen or dashboard is divided in three panels that allow users to view and read:

  • Basic anatomy of selected muscle: The upper left panel allow users to visualize the alignment, orientation and attachment of the muscle.
  • Key details or important information about the muscle: The lower left panel share the key information features about the muscle.
  • Trigger point information: The Right panel is reserved for the thorough explanation of key pain referral pathways associated with major trigger points of the selected muscle.

How to select trigger points: The app allow users to choose either of these tabs:

  • Muscle tab: This tab allow users to review major trigger points and referral pathways under individual muscles to explain initiation and propagation of pain. Individual muscles can be selected by clicking the ‘List’ tab that leads to a drop-down list of 70 muscles arranged in the alphabetical order.
  • Zone Tab: Alternatively, you can also choose among different zones for the identification of non-specific or widespread pain. Under this tab, app demonstrates different muscles and major trigger points that are possibly causing pain and discomfort.

Other features of the app:

  • You can enlarge the image for closer visualization by using features like zoom-in.
  • The arrow tab (just to the left of List tab) allows the user to rotate the image for anterior or posterior orientation of the muscle.
  • You can also choose your preferred language for display information from a list of six different languages.

To learn more about other functions and setting preferences of Trigger Point Anatomy app, please visit –

Practical applications or uses:

Besides trained physical therapists (and students of course), this app is a viable source of information for practitioners of other manual medical specialties such as chiropractors, rehabilitation specialists, occupational therapists and fitness instructors.

Some practical applications/ uses include:

  • Formulation of a preventive strategy: Knowing what trigger points can make the symptoms worse (in case of an acute injury or musculoskeletal condition), you as a physiotherapist can help in the formulation of preventive strategy to reduce the dependence on analgesics (or muscle relaxants).
  • Devising a treatment plan: The knowledge of site and area of involvement can help physicians/ physical therapists and other healthcare professionals to devise a treatment plan for the patient.
  • Diagnosis: Depending upon the cause and pattern of referred pain, you can also diagnose the exact site, cause and pathophysiology of pain and injury. The precise information provided on the app also provide ample information to rule out differentials in the diagnostic process.

Are you aware that more than 30,000 to 90,000 mobile healthcare technology apps are currently available in android and Apple App Stores for download? With more than 3.2 billion mobile phone users, mhealth industry is definitely booming at a very fast pace. But low cost, excellent user interface and real world applications, Trigger Point Anatomy for physical therapists definitely stands out from the crowd.

Original Article Contributed by Dr. Rachita Narasria, MD.


  1. Carnes, D., Taylor, S. J., Homer, K., Eldridge, S., Bremner, S., Pincus, T., … & Underwood, M. (2013). Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a novel, group self-management course for adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain: study protocol for a multicentre, randomised controlled trial (COPERS). BMJ open, 3(1), e002492.
  2. Steinhubl, S. R., Muse, E. D., & Topol, E. J. (2013). Can mobile health technologies transform health care?. JAMA, 310(22), 2395-2396.