Trigger points are sensitive areas in the body that are made up of taut bands of muscle that fail to relax because of stress, overuse, or other unknown causes. These areas, when palpated, feel tough and ropelike under the skin, are very painful when pressed, and may twitch involuntarily.
Trigger points are classified according to their current effect on the body, making them either active or latent. Active trigger points cause pain even at rest, and the pain may not be localized to the trigger point alone, but may radiate to other areas that also become tender to touch. Latent trigger points, on the other hand, are painful only when applied pressure to, but still cause restrictions in movement and functional activities.
What is a Trigger Point Injection?
When muscles become stressed and are unable to relax, they form painful knots beneath the skin. Trigger point injection is a method of treating the trigger points, by injecting steroid and anesthetic directly into the trigger point. Trigger point injection is also a viable treatment method for myofascial pain, tension headaches, and fibromyalgia.
Relief of trigger points may vary with different modalities and techniques. Physical therapy, spray and stretch, and ultrasound are used to treat trigger points, but not all respond fully to these treatments. Chronic conditions may cause trigger points that are not relieved easily, so trigger point injections become the treatment option of choice. A local anesthetic is injected directly into the affected area to block pain at the origin.
Trigger Point Injection Goals
– Quick and Painless Treatment: The trigger point injection process is quick and painless, with a session lasting only a few minutes. It involves the doctor locating the source of pain on the body and injecting steroid and anesthetic with a small needle.
– Pain Relief: Trigger point injections are great for immediate pain alleviation. There is also a very low risk of complication with this treatment method, making it a safe option.
What does a Trigger Point Injection treat?
Muscle pain is the main condition that is treated with trigger point injections. This pain is caused by trigger points or knots along the neck, lower back, legs, and arms. It can also be used to treat myofascial pain, tension headaches, and fibromyalgia. If other treatment methods have failed to improve muscle pain, trigger point injections might be the option for you.
A trigger point injection treatment session can treat multiple points in a short amount of time, and the pain experienced is comparable to having blood drawn or having an IV inserted. At times, patients may feel sore and have a couple of bruises, but this resolves quickly.
The chronicity of the trigger point will determine the response to injection treatment. Numbness is to be expected in the area for a few hours post-injection, but can give patients pain relief for a month.