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Mri for trigger points


I'm a veterinarian trained in animal acupuncture. The question is for myself. I have a trigger point in my neck, roughly at GB21. If I hold my head a certain way, my hand will tingle then go numb. If I attack the knot with acupuncture needles, the tingling happens instantly. Radiographs show no bony lesion in my neck. I am scheduled for an mri next week. Anyone know whether an mri will show lesions in the area of the trigger point? The doctor is expecting to find a nerve root being pinched by a bulging disc. Could this lead to the trigger point that I'm dealing with?



Lyn Behnke, MSN, FNP, CAFCI

You might want to look at GB 20 and the cranial nerves as well - particularly C3 and C4. I would also expect to see either stenosis or a disc bulge on the MRI. Quite frequently - in my experience I have found cervical spine stenosis causing spasm of the trapezius as well.


An MRI will most likely show a soft tissue problem causing nerve irritation, either mechanically (pressure on the root), or through inflammatory chemicals. This means there may be a disc bulge, and/or herniation on the side of your spine where you have the trigger point. Since no extensive arthritis/joint disease showed up on the x-rays, it is not likely that there is a bony spur/lesion causing the pain. If the MRI is clear, you should look into postural fixes, such as strenghening your parascapular and rotator cuff muscles, and working on bringing your scapulae closer together with exercise.


If the MRI shows nothing, it may be worth considering the other muscles which act upon the shoulder especially the scalenes and the pectoralis minor through which passes the neurovascular bundle. Also both branches of the sternocleidomastoid,and the subclavius,cervicals, levator scapulae Perhaps a thorough trigger point treatment on all muscles acting on the shoulder joint would help. And the key to prevention is to carry out activities in a non-repetitive manner - not easy I know. I can recommend The Frozen Shoulder Workbook: Trigger Point Therapy for Overcoming Pain & Regaining Range of Motion
by Clair Davies. All the best Bookworm


MRI is a good check, but I beleive your Qi is stuck on the neck, you should move it down through UB channel. Points: GB20,21, C2-7 like JiaJi, UB11-28, after 20minutes acupuncture treatment, go on with herb wine massage on neck and back make it red color on skin.

Thank you


Feng Mei

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