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Trigger Point Overview - Rectus Abdominis

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Rectus Abdominis Trigger Points - Dr. Jonathan Kuttner


Latin rectus, straight; abdominis, of the belly/stomach

The rectus abdominis is divided by tendinous bands into three or four bellies, each sheathed in aponeurotic fibers from the lateral abdominal muscles.

These fibers converge centrally to form the linea alba. Situated anterior to the lower part of the rectus abdominis is a frequently absent muscle called the pyramidalis, which arises from the pubic crest and inserts into the linea alba. It tenses the linea alba, for reasons unknown.


Pubic crest and symphysis pubis (front of pubic bone).


Anterior surface of xiphoid process. 5th, 6th, and 7th costal cartilages.


Flexes lumbar spine. Depresses rib cage. Stabilizes pelvis during walking.
Antagonist: erector spinae.


Ventral rami of thoracic nerves, T5–T12.

Basic Functional Movement


Points for dysmenorrhoea

McBurney’s point

Example: initiating getting out of a low chair.

Referred Pain Patterns

Upper fibers: horizontal mid-back pain; heartburn and indigestion. Lower fibers: pain between pubis and umbilicus, causing dysmenorrhea.

Lateral fibers: pseudoappendicitis; McBurney’s point.


Heartburn, colic, dysmenorrhea, nausea, vomiting, sense of being full, horizontal back pain, lower crossed pattern, rib pain, testicular pain, diaphragm and breathing issues.


Direct trauma, postural, visceroptosis (commonly from overexertion during sports), poor sit-up technique, prolonged cross- legged sitting, coughing, emotional stress, may be related to back pain, post-surgical (abdominal).

Differential Diagnosis

Visceral pathology including: renal, hepatic, pancreatic, diverticular disease, colitis, appendicitis, hiatus hernia, peritoneal disease—pelvic in ammatory disease, ovarian, bladder. Appendicitis. Gynecological disease. Umbilical/incisional— hernia. Latissimus dorsi.


Transversus abdominis, internal oblique, external oblique, pyramidalis.











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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