Many people have, at some point, experienced an inexplicably sore muscle. It could be in the form of a painful knot that seems impossible to roll out, or a muscle so sore it sends pain into other nearby muscles. A way to treat these painful sites is through trigger point injections. This is a form of targeted treatment that takes only a few minutes to undergo. Trigger point injections aim to treat the cause of the symptoms as well as the symptoms themselves. This is why this treatment option is effective not only for pain relief but for healing the cause. Our doctors perform trigger point injections to alleviate joint, back, and knee pain, or pain from an injury.
But, what is a trigger point? A trigger point is an area of soft tissue that can make you feel pain, irritation, or discomfort. This tissue can be found in various locations in the body. These spots are special in that they don’t just affect themselves; they can send waves of pain and discomfort into surrounding tissue as well. Myofascial trigger points refer to muscle tissue and the connective tissue attached to it. When these points are engaged (touched, bumped, hit, etc.), the muscle fibers seize and shorten, causing the pain experienced. It could be a pain similar to knocking your “funny bone,” or it could be something more serious.
When this chain reaction occurs (where one source of pain causes pain in other areas), it is called referred pain. For instance, if a trigger point in your shoulder is irritated, it could cause referred pain along the side of your neck. Our office often treats patients who are experiencing referred pain in an area caused by a nearby trigger point. Should an affected trigger point go untreated, more serious conditions can develop, such as fibromyalgia and muscular rheumatism.
With referred pain, your body could experience a decrease in nutrients, an increase in awkward movements, and increased pressure. The natural reaction is to subdue movement in the affected area, further resulting in increased tension and pain at the problematic trigger point(s). The most common muscles affected are the head, neck, and back. If in pain, these trigger points can lead to greater issues such as headaches, migraines, neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, and sciatica. Causes of injuries to these trigger points could be an injury, structural imbalance, stress, nutrient deficiency, and lack of exercise.
The entire procedure takes only a few minutes. First, the physician identifies the affected trigger points by gently pinching and squeezing the affected area. Once found, the physician sanitizes the skin and injects an anesthetic mixture into the affected trigger point. This mixture is derived from the pitcher plant (sarapin). Multiple injections can be given to the same knot if necessary. This relaxes the trigger point and results in alleviated pain. The patient may be encouraged to stretch the muscle afterward.
To learn more about this procedure, or to set up an appointment, please contact our office at (661) 380-7222.