Trigger Point Injections
Trigger point injections are a medical treatment for patients experiencing muscle pain, fibromyalgia, tension headaches, and myofascial pain.
What Causes Trigger Points?
Muscular injuries, strains, and trauma can lead to the formation of trigger points. When ligaments, tendons, muscle fibers, or fascia become weakened, overstretched, or inflamed, the soft tissue can develop tiny tears. As the tissue heals, it contracts and becomes knotted and twisted. These knotted fibers shorten to protect from further injury and make it difficult for blood to reach the muscle cells.
Other causes of trigger points include improper body mechanics, structural imbalances, malnutrition, and mental or emotional stress.
As a result, the muscle restricts movement to avoid pain and protect itself. This leads to a reduced range of motion in the joint and increases the risk of developing trigger points in the muscle and surrounding structures.
Who May Benefit From Trigger Point Injections?
Patients experiencing symptoms of tension headaches, fibromyalgia, or myofascial pain syndrome may be good candidates for trigger point injections:
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Dull, aching head pain
A tender knot in a muscle
Pain that persists or worsens
Pain that makes it difficult to sleep
Deep, aching pain in a muscle
Feeling of tightness or pressure across the forehead or on the sides and back of the head
Tenderness in the scalp, neck, and shoulder muscles
How to Prepare For Trigger Point Injections
Before the procedure, the physician will provide detailed instructions for the patient to follow. To prepare for trigger point injections, patients will need to:
Have someone drive them home after treatment.
Inform their provider about all medications they are taking, including pain medicine, blood thinners, and muscle relaxers.
Follow physician instructions for pausing certain medicine.
Let their provider know about their allergies, including allergies to pain medicine.
What to Expect During Treatment
Depending on the location of the trigger point(s), the patient may be instructed to sit or lay down for the procedure. The physician will begin by pressing on the muscle to locate the area in pain and go on to insert a small needle. He or she will then inject a mixture of anesthetic and steroid and apply a bandage to prevent bleeding or infection.
Patients may receive multiple injections during one visit to the doctor’s office. The entire procedure typically only takes a few minutes.
After The Procedure
Some patients may experience pain relief right away, while others may have their pain return two hours later before experiencing relief for a longer stretch of time. Staff may provide patients with an ice pack or over-the-counter pain medication to help ease pain. It’s also normal to experience temporary soreness in the treatment for a few days after the procedure.
Patients will be given specific activity instructions for at-home care and recovery. In addition, their physician may recommend physical therapy. Patients are allowed to actively use the treated muscle after the injection(s) but should avoid engaging in strenuous activity for a few days.
Patients should not seek additional injections if they still have trigger point pain after two or three injections
Risks of Trigger Point Injections
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