When muscles are bruised, torn or stiff, they can generate pain in other areas of the body. In such cases, the site of injury is referred to as a trigger point. It can cause pain in the arms or legs; in some patients, trigger point pain is experienced in the back. We utilize trigger point injections to relieve pain and promote natural healing.
Trigger point pain is the direct result of inflammation at the site of injury. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve muscles directly. Trigger points are sometimes found in the soft tissue that surrounds muscles. This tissue is known as facia. At any rate, trigger point injections represent a simple procedure that can be completed in minutes.
Inflammation is frequently the cause of pain. If inflammation can be reduced, pain generally subsides. That is the entire goal of trigger point injections. Relaxing the affected muscle or facia, combined with a reduction of inflammation, both reduces pain and gives the body an opportunity to heal itself. Healed muscle or facia ceases being a trigger point for pain.
Patients are positioned comfortably before the procedure begins. Next, the doctor begins manipulating skin and muscle tissue in order to find the trigger point in question. Sensitive patients may find this portion of the procedure slightly uncomfortable. However, much of the discomfort will subside once the trigger point is located.
Next, the injection site is cleansed and treated with a local anesthetic to numb the skin. A needle is inserted into the trigger point followed by an anesthetic mixture being deployed. This should cause the tissue to immediately begin relaxing. If sufficient relaxation is not achieved after one injection, the doctor may recommend additional injections.
Upon completion, the needle is removed, and the site bandaged. The doctor may ask the patient to stretch and move the affected muscle immediately after the procedure.
Very little recovery time is needed following trigger point injections. Patients return home the same day. In many cases, they are able to return to normal activity shortly thereafter.
Diagnostic tests involving imaging are not necessary to diagnose trigger points. However, a doctor may request an x-ray or MRI if an underlying condition is suspected. That notwithstanding, a single injection may not be enough to provide the type of relief patients expect. In such cases, doctors strongly recommend additional treatments over several weeks.
Long term pain relief is commensurate with healing. As the affected tissue heals, trigger point pain subsides. Continued pain despite trigger point injections suggests there is something else going on.
The risk of complications is nearly nonexistent with trigger point injections. One exception is the possibility of infection. Though infections are rare, they are always a possibility when injections are utilized. As for side effects, these are limited to soreness and swelling at the site of the injection. Within a day or so, everything is back to normal.
We invite you to contact our clinic if you are experiencing any kind of chronic or acute pain. A thorough examination by one of our pain specialists may determine that your pain is the result of trigger point inflammation. In such a case, we may recommend trigger point injections.