Recent Study Supports Trigger Point Injections for Myofascial Pain

Recent Study Supports Trigger Point Injections for Myofascial Pain

Recent Study Supports Trigger Point Injections for Myofascial Pain

Acute myofascial pain can be difficult to diagnose. Once a doctor has done so, traditional therapies are based primarily on management. Patients are offered both pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments designed to provide relief until the situation resolves itself. However, trigger point injections are another option. We offer them here at Lone Star Pain Medicine.

Scientific literature regarding the effectiveness of trigger point injections is contradictory. Some literature says the injections provide appropriate pain relief while other literature says they do not. Nevertheless, a study published last summer shows clear support for trigger point injections as a treatment for myofascial pain.

The Basics of Myofascial Pain

Myofascial pain is characterized by pain and tenderness in muscles and the surrounding fascia of it. It can be either chronic or acute. A doctor might diagnose official pain after a thorough examination reveals muscle tightness in small areas. We would call these areas muscle knots. The knots are tender to the touch and can send pain radiating into other parts of the body. This is where the idea of trigger points comes in.

A muscle knot in the shoulder can cause radiating pain in the arm, for example. The knot is considered the trigger point for the pain in the patient’s arm. By addressing that trigger point, we alleviate the pain. Trigger point injections are designed to do just that.

More About the Study

As for the previously mentioned study, it was conducted by a team of researchers in Florida and California. The researchers undertook a meta-analysis and systematic review that began with more than 1,100 pieces of literature and 934 studies. They eventually whittled down the information to just fifty-eight studies eligible to undergo full-text screening.

To make a long story short, the meta-analysis of the remaining studies showed support for trigger point injections. The studies demonstrated that patients reported a reduction in pain as a result of injections, compared to control groups that received only traditional management therapies.

Researchers were quick to acknowledge the limitations of their study. They also were not able to determine whether or not trigger point injections work best on their own or when combined with traditional pain management practices. Their only significant conclusion was that the injections do offer pain relief for a few patients.

How the Injections Work

Trigger point injections are offered based on the concept that tight or inflamed muscles need to be relaxed. Relaxing them will take the pressure off and thereby reduce pain. Injections consist of medications that both reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief. As the muscles relax, the healing process can begin.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect to trigger point injection therapies is identifying the correct trigger points. A pain medicine doctor with plenty of experience in myofascial pain is normally able to identify trigger points with a thorough physical examination. Skin and muscle manipulation is a routine part of such exams.

Once a trigger point has been identified, an injection site is chosen and consequently prepared via cleaning and local anesthetic. A needle is inserted into the muscle for the purpose of delivering the medication. In most cases, the affected muscle begins to relax almost immediately.

An Option Worth Considering

Trigger point injections are an option worth considering if you are suffering from chronic myofascial pain. According to the previously mentioned study, they can also be effective for acute myofascial pain. The doctors at Lone Star Pain Medicine would be happy to discuss the therapy with you. Just make an appointment to visit us in Weatherford at your earliest convenience.

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