Trigger points are officially defined as “discrete, focal hyperirritable spots found on any taut band of skeletal muscles.” Most of us more simply refer to these as knots in the muscles that develop as a result of muscle tension. Oftentimes, there is even a tangible nodule at the trigger point location. These knots can be tender, produce throbbing pain, cause twitches, and lead to motor dysfunction. When touched, pain often radiates from the trigger point to the surrounding area. Additionally, trigger points irritate nerves around them and can cause referred or reflective pain in other parts of the body.
Trigger points most often occur in the upper back and behind the shoulders, although they can also occur in the lower back and, less frequently, in extremities. They’re commonly associated with fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, and neck and lower back pain. Trigger points can occur as a result of acute trauma or repetitive minor injuries and can be caused by aging, injury, a sedentary lifestyle, bad posture, muscle overuse, chronic stress conditions, vitamin deficiencies, sleep problems, or joint problems.
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger point pain is generally treated through a combination of therapies including medication, physical therapy, trigger point injections, and pressure point therapy. Trigger point injections are a particularly effective component of trigger point therapy and help to soothe muscle pain, especially in the lower back, neck, arms, and legs. These injections help to relax the muscles and provide pain relief to the area.
Trigger Point Injections
If you’re experiencing muscle pain that hasn’t improved from other treatments or if you’re experiencing pain from fibromyalgia, tension headaches, or myofascial pain, then a trigger point injection could be an effective way for you to get some pain relief. Further, if you have a painful trigger point or have pain radiating from a trigger point to the surrounding area, you might be a good candidate for this treatment.
In this quick and minimally invasive procedure, your physician will first press on the trigger point to locate pain. Once the injection spot has been located the doctor will insert a small needle into the area, and then inject a mixture that usually consists of a local anesthetic, saline, and either dextrose or cortisone. This mixture is injected directly into the trigger point and works to both relax the knotted muscle and to reduce pain. This procedure only takes a few minutes and is an easy and effective way for many patients with trigger point pain to experience relief. For many, one injection will provide lasting relief, and, if you have multiple trigger points, you can receive multiple injections at the same time. Trigger points can be painful and can interfere with everyday activities. If you’re experiencing trigger point pain, contact us at Glaser Pain Relief Center in Encino, California so we can determine whether this is an effective treatment for you.