What are trigger points?
Trigger points are knots or bands of tight muscles which are formed when muscles are unable to relax. They can form in many areas of the body but are usually found on the neck, mid back, or low back. A trigger point can cause referred pain, or pain in another area, when they trap or irritate a surrounding nerve. This referred pain can be experienced as nerve pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, and more. Some causes of trigger points include: whiplash from falls or car accidents, inflammation, overuse of certain muscles, underlying structure problems such as scoliosis, degenerative disc disease or herniated discs, poor posture, or arthritis. Trigger points are treated using multiple therapies including trigger point injections, rehabilitation, electrical stimulation, massage therapy, stretching, and/or chiropractic adjustment.
How do trigger point injections work?
The injection increases blood flow and promotes healing while relaxing the muscle. The anesthetic medication can help block pain receptors from the nerves that are surrounding the muscle. If a corticosteroid is used, inflammation and swelling around the nerves will decrease and reduce pain.
What can I expect during the procedure?
During the procedure, the provider will feel different muscle groups for areas that are tight or knotted. A small needle is then injected directly into the muscle. The injection usually contains a local anesthetic and may even include a corticosteroid. Multiple sites may be injected in the same day and only take a few minutes. A band aid may be applied if there is some bleeding at the injection site. Stretching, ice, and exercises can help any soreness felt after a trigger point injection.