What is a trigger point?
A trigger point is a tight band of muscle or connective tissue, a “knot” that is hyper-sensitive to the touch. Pressure can cause radiating pain and numbness. Some people may have decreased range of motion in the affected muscles, especially the neck, shoulders, and lower back. Trigger point injections are one of the most effective treatments to provide prompt relief from the muscle spasms and pain, allowing the muscle to recover.
What causes trigger points to form?
The most common cause of trigger points is injury to the soft tissue from acute trauma or repetitive microtrauma. The stress on the muscle fibers causes the muscle to spasm or cramp, creating a pressure strain that decreases blood flow to the affected muscle. Lactic acid builds up and causes pain and cramping, creating a repetitive cycle.
What are the benefits of trigger point injections?
The purpose of trigger point injections is to relieve muscle pain. The injections relieve tension from muscle spasms and strain by using small amounts of anesthetic to relax the muscle and sometimes a steroid to reduce inflammation. These injections allow blood to properly flow back into the area and the muscle to recover, breaking the cycle of spasm and pain.
How is a trigger point injection performed?
While you are sitting or lying down, the doctor will examine the sore muscle groups and locate the specific area to be injected. The injection site is cleansed with alcohol. A small needle is inserted into each trigger point and a local anesthetic such as Lidocaine is injected. There may possibly be a steroid such as a corticosteroid used to reduce inflammation. The procedure is completed in just a few minutes. The area will be cleaned again with alcohol, and you are able to leave in 5 to 10 minutes.
What happens after the injections? Do I have to do anything?
You should drink plenty of water to keep your muscles hydrated. If you use ice on the injected area a few times the first 24 to 48 hours afterward, it will ease any tenderness at the site. Muscle stretching and range of motion exercises are recommended after the injections to increase mobility. Use heat before exercising, and ice after. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications can also be helpful if recommended by your doctor.
How quickly do you feel pain relief, and how long does the relief last?
Most patients will feel immediate relief from muscle pain following trigger point injections. Some may feel discomfort for a few days; however, pain relief will continue to improve each week.
How frequently should you undergo trigger point injections?
Each patient is different. Depending on the location and level of pain, and the type of injection used, some patients will need just one injection, others will need a series of 4 or more separate injections performed once per week. Pain Stop Clinics monitors patients closely to determine how many injections will be needed to resolve their symptoms.
What are the risks and side effects of trigger point injections?
Trigger point injections are considered very safe, but as with all procedures there are some risks. The most common risks are temporary soreness or numbness at the injection site and possible infection.
How do I know if trigger point injections are right for me?
The experts at Pain Stop Clinics will evaluate your muscle pain and determine whether there is improvement with other treatments, such as physical therapy and pain medications. By examining the muscles involved, the doctors at Pain Stop Clinics can determine whether the pain is radiating from the trigger point to the surrounding area.
Can trigger point injections help with fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome?
Yes, trigger point injections are an effective therapy treatment for these type of chronic pain syndromes but will typically need to be repeated whenever the muscles begin to spasm again as a result of the condition. Many patients with chronic pain syndromes find extended pain relief at Pain Stop Clinics.
If you think trigger point injections can help your muscle pain, schedule an evaluation today with the pain experts at Pain Stop Clinics.
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