What are the benefits of trigger point injections?
Everybody has trigger points, but you may not realize just what they are or what role they play. The body is held together by a network of muscles, joints and tendons that all work together allowing us to perform our daily activities. When everything is working as it should, we rarely think about this internal structure. Taking it all for granted changes pretty abruptly, however, when one or more area becomes painful due to injury, stress, overuse or chronic issues.
Trigger points are basically knotted or taut bands of muscles that are formed when muscles do not relax after contracting. When a trigger point has become activated, the result can be irritation, pain, tension and range of motion can even be affected. These knots can sometimes be felt under the skin, but another way of recognizing if a trigger point has been, in fact, activated, is by the presence of what is commonly referred to as referral pain. When moderate to firm pressure is applied to the area, it is “referred” or felt in a totally different part of the body.
Several chronic conditions are associated with trigger points. Some of the more common are:
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Tension headaches
While there is still a lot to learn about fibromyalgia, those who suffer its effects experience deep muscle pain, chronic headaches, back pain that rarely lets up and sometimes constant neck pain. Myofascial pain affects the fascia, which is the connective tissue surrounding the muscles and may develop from injury or putting too much strain on individual or groups of muscles, ligaments or tendons. Some tension headaches are brought on by emotionally stressful situations, but those accompanying trigger points are caused by tightened muscles, usually in the back of the neck and scalp.
Treatment for Trigger Points
There are various approaches to unlocking these knotted and painful muscles. It is always advisable to begin conservatively and that typically includes medications, such as anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxers, as well as massage, physical therapy and acupuncture. If these are not successful, trigger point injections can be a good option for providing significant relief. These typically contain a local anesthetic, saline or a corticosteroid, which is injected into the individual’s trigger point. In most cases, the area relaxes and the pain is lessened or totally alleviated. Treatment may require more than one injection but only takes a few minutes each time. For those with possible allergies to the drugs, there is a dry-needle method with can be used.
At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our physicians are committed to more than just treating your symptoms. We strongly believe that each individual is best served through an integrative treatment plan. We focus on finding the underlying cause and providing non-surgical, evidenced based solutions tailored to your specific condition and needs. If you are experiencing muscle pain or have questions about trigger point injections or any of our other services, we invite you to schedule a consultation by simply calling (516) 268-0070 or using our convenient online form by clicking here.