Common pain management treatments include acupuncture, physical massage therapy, and pain injections. While most people are aware of the first two, knowledge of trigger point injections as a way of managing pain is less widespread. In this post, we delve deeper into this pain management option and why you should consider it.
At the Non-Surgical Spine Center, we can figure out the best course of action for you. Your body is unique and requires a specific treatment plan.
What Constitutes a Trigger Point?
The American Family Physician defines a trigger point as a discrete, focal, hyperirritable spot located in the taut band of skeletal muscle. Trigger points form when the tissue which surrounds the muscle (myofascial) cannot relax, thus forming a knot. Trigger points can occur on your neck, lower back, arms, and legs. In some instances, you can feel the knot under the skin. This condition may affect normal function, movement, or your quality of life. The knot may either cause localized pain or lead to pain in another area of your body. This is called referred pain.
What Are Trigger Point Injections?
Shortly referred to as a TPI, this an outpatient procedure that involves the administration drugs directly into the affected area. The drugs used may be local anesthetics such as procaine or lidocaine. Depending on the circumstance, anti-inflammatory drugs may also be administered. Apart from managing pain emanating from trigger points, these injections are used to mitigate pain caused by such medical conditions as:
- Tension headaches
- Myofascial pain syndrome
How Do Trigger Point Injections Work?
The non-invasive procedure is carried out in a medical facility or a pain clinic. The trigger points are diagnosed through a thorough physical exam where the doctor massages the muscle for tender or knotted areas. In some instances, the doctor may recommend imaging tests such as an MRI or an x-ray. After the physician locates the trigger point, he/she cleans the skin and inserts the injection needle. If you have multiple trigger points, different muscles may have to be injected in a single treatment session.
The procedure takes only a few minutes. It is advisable that you do not over-use or strain the treated area for a few days following the injection. You may also be advised to perform some light exercise to stretch the muscle.
Do Trigger Point Injections Hurt?
Trigger pain injections are not normally painful as a local anesthetic may be applied to the skin before the injection. This numbs the area to any pain.
What Can I Expect After A Trigger Point Injection?
You may experience site tenderness s soon as the effects of the applied anesthetic start wearing off, but you regain the use of your muscle after the injection. Most patients experience pain relief in 24 to 72 hours after the trigger point injection. This may last for about a month. For long-term pain relief, your physician may recommend several injections. The risks associated with trigger point injections are quite low. In the rare case that bleeding or an infection occurs, consult your physician immediately.
Is This Type of Pain Medication Right For Me?
A trigger point injection may be suitable for you if other pain management options, such as physical therapy and pain medication, have proved ineffective. Trigger point injections may also be recommended to patients who are taking part in a physical rehabilitation program.
Are you interested in finding out more about trigger point injections? We can answer all of your questions and even schedule an appointment! To find out whether you qualify for this form of pain management, schedule an appointment with the Non-Surgical Spine Center or give us a call at (843) 856-9669.