Prof. Dr. H. C. Dr. David G. Simons, MD , PhD Hon (1922 - 2010)

The DGSA is named after David G. Simons, the pioneer and co-author of the famous "Trigger Point Manual". Dr. Simons was the co-founder of DGSA and was our mentor, teacher and friend over many years.

David G. Simons, 1946

David G. Simons, 1946

1946-1957 The Physician

In 1946, a young man named David G. Simons completed his medical studies at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). This was the beginning of a great career. Simons first worked for the U.S. Air Force in the medical laboratory of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. His urge to keep exploring soon led him to new challenges. As a result, between 1948-1949 he led the animal experiment projects in V - 2 rockets and between 1953- 1959 he was the head of the Space Biology Departments at the US Air Force Missile Development Center, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

Left : David G. Simons 1957 on the cover of "Life" magazine | right: Balloon of the Manhigh project

Left : David G. Simons 1957 on the cover of "Life" magazine | right: Balloon of the Manhigh project

1957-1960 The Astronaut

During this time, Dr. Simons was responsible for the so-called Project 7851, which studied cosmic radiation, weightlessness and high altitude flights with balloons known as the Manhigh Project. Simons, together with Joseph Kittinger, Clifton McClure and Dr. John P. Stapp are now referred to as pre-astronauts.  They were a group of brave men who were the first in history to fly as high as into the stratosphere. In August 1957, Simons was the pilot of the Manhigh II balloon and broke the record, by reaching 31000 meters above sea level. He was one of the first to see the curvature of the earth. Simons was granted a place in the International Space Hall of Fame and in 1957 was on the cover of "Life" magazine.

View of the earth from the balloon at 31000 meters above sea level ...

View of the earth from the balloon at 31000 meters above sea level ...

“This cloud layer, which terminates as an overhanging shelf, is so solid it gives one a feeling of being in heaven, above the rest of the world where you can look down over the edge and see the poor, faltering mortals. It's a strange sensation: a quiet world, peaceful, bright and dark at the same time.” (David G. Simons)

Travell & Simons, 1985

Travell & Simons, 1985

1960-2010 The Researcher

Simons later worked for the Veterans Administration, where he developed research programs in physical medicine and rehabilitation. In 1960, Dr Janet Travell MD, held a lecture on myofascial pain and trigger points at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine. Simons was so impressed by Travell and her findings, that he decided to work with her. Their intense collaboration  led to the publication of the "Trigger Point Manual" in 1983, which was the first compendium on the diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain. In 2001, Simons, together with Prof. Siegfried Mense, published "Muscle Pain: Understanding its Nature, Diagnosis and Treatment ". This book was a breakthrough in the understanding of muscle pain, combining evidence with clinical practice. Simons also has over 200 publications on trigger points and the treatment of chronic pain. He is considered to be one of the most highly respected scientists in this field internationally, and has received an honorary doctorate from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in 2005. Simons and Travell are now internationally recognized as two of the pioneers in musculoskeletal medicine. Simons continued to work on the 3rd edition of the Trigger Point Manual and on a book on climate change, until he passed away on April 5, 2010. To this day, he will remain for many people as a very unique and outstanding person.

Obituary in the British Medical Journal