Are Trigger Point Injections Right For You?

WHAT ARE TRIGGER POINTS?

Trigger points are localized muscle spasms. Muscle spasms occur when muscles become tight (contracted) for too long which causes a decrease in oxygen to the muscle. This prevents the muscle from healing.

WHAT IS MYOFASCIAL PAIN?

Trigger points are a type of myofascial pain caused by the muscle itself and/or the fascia (a type of connective tissue) that attaches to the muscle. Sometimes it feels like muscle tension other times it can be severe pain. The pain can be in a small area (local pain) or in a large area (referred pain). Myofascial pain can occur in all body regions.

WHEN ARE TRIGGER POINTS CAUSING PAIN?

If you have pain in one or more area that has not improved in four weeks you may have pain from a trigger point. Common tests such as X-rays or MRIs will not show if a trigger point is causing pain.

WHAT IS A TRIGGER POINT INJECTION?

In a trigger point injection an anesthetic (numbing medicine) and sometimes corticosteroid (anti-inflamatory medicine) is injected into one or several of trigger points. The steroid is used to treat local inflammation of the muscle which can be used to diagnose or treat myofascial pain. If it temporarily lessens your pain and helps you move better, it tells the provider the trigger point is at least one of the causes of your pain.

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE IN DETAIL?

The provider will locate your trigger point and then insert a small needle directly into that area. When the provider is sure the needle is at the correct place, the medicine will be injected.

WHAT IS THE SUGGESTED POST-TREATMENT?

You may feel immediate pain relief and numbness in the region that was injected for up to six hours after the injection. This tells you the medication has reached the right spot. Pain may return after this short pain-free period or may even be a little worse for a day or two; this is normal. It may be caused by needle irritation or by the corticosteroid itself. Steroids usually take two or three days to start working, but can take as long as a week. You can usually return to work the day of the injection, but always check with your provider.

HOW LONG CAN I EXPECT PAIN RELIEF?

How long you can expect pain relief depends on how many areas are injured and on the amount of inflammation. Sometimes an injection can bring several months of pain relief and then more treatment is needed. Other times, particularly if there is no underlying disc or joint problem, one injection brings long-term pain relief. If your pain is caused by injury to more than one area only some of your symptoms may be helped by one injection. If this occurs, your pain provider will know several other treatments to help your pain.

If you are interested in learning more about trigger point injections, schedule an appointment with board certified physician Lewis Frazier, Jr. at 972-596-1059.

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