TRIGGER POINT INJECTIONS

 

PLANO PAIN RELIEF DOCTOR

Muscle Pain Relief

The Pain Relief Center in Plano, Texas offers Trigger Point Injections for the treatment of muscle pain. Call us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

 

What are Trigger Point Injections?

A Trigger Point Injection (TPI) is a procedure used to treat painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points, or knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. Many times, such knots can be felt under the skin. A trigger point is basically a small patch or tightly contracted muscle that can actually cut off its own blood supply, which may irritate the nerves around them and cause referred pain, or pain that is felt in another part of the body. These trigger points can be thought of as isolated spasms that affect only a small area of muscle tissue, as opposed to a whole-muscle spasm, such as a cramp or “charlie horse.”

Several trigger point locations can actually be felt as noticeable nodules or tights bands of muscle fibers. A trigger point can cause pain locally or radiate pain along nerve pathways to another area of the body. Trigger points can develop as a result of a number of different factors, such as:

  • Acute or chronic muscle overload

  • Direct injury or trauma to the area

  • Psychological distress

  • Disease

  • Smoking

  • Activation of other trigger points

  • Homeostatic imbalance

  • Radiculopathy

  • Infections and other health issues

Trigger points can either be active or latent. An active trigger point is an area that is extremely tender and almost always sore. It can be associated with both local and regional pain, and can impede full use of the muscle(s), leading to decreased range of motion and muscle weakness. Latent trigger points, however, are “dormant” areas that have the potential to act as a trigger point in the future. These areas don’t cause pain during regular activities, but are tender when touched. These trigger points can become activated due to fatigue, strain or injury.

How is it done?

The trigger point injection is performed in the health-care professional’s office, usually with the patient either lying on the exam table on the stomach or sitting on the exam table. The exact protocol varies. The health-care professional performing the procedure locates the trigger point by manual palpation and marks the site. Ultrasound guidance is not generally necessary. The injection site is then cleaned. Alcohol or another skin cleanser such as betadine is commonly used to clean the injection site. Frequently, a numbing spray such as ethyl chloride is used to anesthetize the skin and make the actual injection less painful. The needle is then inserted into the trigger point and the medication is injected. After the injection, a simple adhesive bandage may be applied. If the area is painful after the injection, ice, heat, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen sodium may be used.

What should I expect?

During the Trigger Point Injection procedure, a health care professional inserts a small needle into the patient’s trigger point. With the injection, the trigger point is made inactive and the pain is alleviated. Usually, a brief course of treatment will result in sustained relief. Injections are given in a doctor’s office and usually take just a few minutes. Several sites may be injected in one visit. Once administered, the medication works by inactivating the targeted trigger point and alleviates local or regional pain. Sustained relief may require a series of TPIs, but the best course of action for treatment varies from patient to patient depending on their level of pain. It is best to combine Trigger Point Injections with physical therapy and a home exercise program.

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