What is a Trigger Point?
When muscle tissue becomes tight, it can develop points of hyperirritability called trigger points. Trigger points can usually be felt as nodules or knots in the taut bands of muscle fiber. What makes this different from an ordinary muscle knot is that a trigger point can trigger pain in other parts of the body. This happens because trigger points may irritate nerves around them, causing this “referred pain.”
For example, a trigger point in a back muscle may cause pain in your neck. A trigger point in the neck could cause pain in the head. The pain you experience may be sharp and intense, or a dull ache.
Trigger points form, like contracted knots, when a muscle is stressed, has repetitive strain, or is injured. The pain caused by trigger points is referred to as myofascial – “myo” meaning muscle, and “fascia” meaning the connective tissue around the muscle – or, pain in the connective tissue around the muscle.
Although some trigger points can, and often do, go away by themselves, others can last forever if left untreated. Trigger points are often implicated in the complication of an injury.
Trigger Point Injection (TPI) for Pain Relief
Interestingly, injecting these same trigger points may be an option for treating pain in some patients. In a TPI procedure, your health care professional will insert a small needle directly into the trigger point. This injection will contain one of these substances:
· Saline (sterile salt water)
· Local anesthesia
Once the chosen solution is injected, the trigger point is deactivated, alleviating the pain the trigger point is causing.
These injections are provided in a doctor’s office, and only take a few minutes. Usually, a brief course of treatment can bring lasting pain relief. Several sites may be injected in a single visit, alleviating multiple areas of pain.
What Kind of Pain Can TPI (Trigger Point Injection) Treat?
TPI is used primarily to treat pain in the arms, legs, lower back, and neck. However, it can be used to treat many muscle groups, and can also be used to treat fibromyalgia and tension headaches.
TPI is also used to relieve myofascial pain (chronic pain involving tissue that surrounds the muscle) that does not respond to other treatments. The effectiveness of this particular use is still being studied.
TPI Can Provide Effective Pain Relief Without Opioid Medication
Using trigger point injection for pain management is just one of the recently developed methods for treating chronic pain without relying on opioids. It has been shown to be one of the most effective treatment types to deactivate trigger points and provide prompt relief of symptoms.
If you suffer from chronic pain, call Advanced Bone & Joint at (636) 229-4222, or request an appointment online to see one of their orthopedic doctors. They will discuss and diagnose your painful condition or injury, and devise a plan to manage and treat your pain, successfully.