App Review of Muscle Trigger Points by Real Bodywork
By: Saif Usman MD
Myofascial pain can be an elusive and challenging diagnosis to make for physicians and therapists alike. With so many muscles, tendons and ligaments and a multitude of presentations, it’s often difficult to narrow down the exact cause and location of the pain. A strong knowledge of MSK anatomy, nerve distribution and referral patterns is required. The Muscle Trigger Points app was developed by the Real Bodywork team to provide a quick and easy reference to viewing and diagnosing the common trigger points in the body. For the purpose of this review I will be using a 55 year old male who presents with vague shoulder pain.
The app opens to the Real Bodywork logo and then brings you to the home screen. The home screen displays the last muscle you were looking at prior to closing the app, which is a nice feature. It consists of 3 panels; top left shows whole body anatomy, bottom left has information on the selected muscle and the left side displays pain referral pathways of the selected trigger point.
Along the top of the screen are a number of tabs. The muscles tab allows you to view trigger points by muscle while the zone tab is helpful for nonspecific pain and breaks the body into zones. Clicking on a trigger point on the body image will bring up specific information about the trigger point, referral pattern and the muscle its located on.
Clicking on a zone will bring up the various muscles and corresponding trigger points that could be causing pain.
The app contains information on 70 muscles which can be viewed by clicking the list tab.
Clicking the arrow tab in the top left corner allows you to rotate the image to show zones and muscles in the back or front. You can also pinch and zoom the image for a closer look.
The top right corner has a wheel tab for choosing 1 of 6 languages for information to be displayed in. The other button is an info tab which brings up how-to use the app instructions, brief intro to trigger points and information about Realbodywork at https://www.realbodywork.com/.
Coming back to our patient, clicking on the zones view brings up the shoulder zone and clicking on that displays the different muscles of that region on the right side of the screen. You can scroll down the list to view all the different muscles and trigger points to narrow down where his pain can be originating from.
If his pain was in the deltoid, you can click on the corresponding image on the right and this will display information about muscle action and referral pattern on the bottom left. Using this information you can see where the trigger point would be and target therapy such as deep tissue massage or a trigger point injection into that region. While not perfect, this app could be helpful in coming up with a differential diagnosis as well as in directing therapies.