WHAT ARE TRIGGER POINT INJECTIONS?
When physical therapy, pain medications, stretching, and massage don’t provide adequate relief from chronic pain, it may be time to consider trigger point injections.
Trigger points are “knots” in the muscle fibers that are hypersensitive and produce pain. They may be formed by acute trauma or repetitive motion injury. Trigger points may even cause muscle twitching and irritate the nerves around them, resulting in “referred pain,” or pain that is felt in a different body part.
A trigger point injection is an injection of local anesthetic and small amounts of steroids directly into a trigger point. This procedure is used for pain management, as the anesthetics block the pain receptors around the injection site until the muscle feels adequately relaxed. The most common muscle groups treated with trigger point injections include the masseters/jaw muscles, neck, hip, lower back, and temples.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM TRIGGER POINT INJECTIONS?
The practice of using trigger point injections to relieve pain is very common, especially for patients dealing with:
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Migraines/tension headaches
- Other chronic pain conditions
While these disorders are distinctly different, each characterizes chronic and widespread muscular pain, particularly at trigger points. For example, when administered to the trapezius muscle and/or temples, trigger point injections are beneficial for individuals who have reoccurring tension headaches.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE PROCEDURE
First, we must determine where your muscles are knotted. This is done with a physical exam, since imaging techniques like x-rays do not reveal knotted muscles. During this exam we will also rule out temporary muscle strain, pinched nerves, and spinal column issues.
Pain providers diagnose the trigger points affecting you most. Then, depending on the trigger point location, you will either sit or lie down on an exam table. Your provider will clean the area with alcohol and may use a skin marker to mark the injection site. They may also pinch the trigger point between their fingers to better target it. Next, the pain medicine injection of anesthetic and steroids will be administered with a small needle. Your provider will rhythmically continue needling until the muscle feels totally relaxed. This means the needle will be repeatedly inserted and retracted without completely withdrawing from the muscle. You may feel temporary discomfort and muscle spasms during this process.
Since a trigger point injection is a non-surgical procedure, there is no need for downtime or recovery. The treatment is over within fifteen minutes, and you can return to your daily routine immediately afterward. Effects are noticeable in just a few days, and most patients report significant improvement in mobility.
Note: Southside Pain Specialists is a referral-only pain clinic. To schedule an appointment, you must first obtain a physician referral. Make sure to discuss all current medications with your provider before pursuing pain treatment.
For Effective Pain Management, Schedule Your Trigger Point Injection Procedure Now
Join the thousands who’ve found relief with trigger point injections at Southside Pain Specialists. Our experienced pain management specialists are dedicated to providing effective long-term pain relief to soothe muscle pain, tightness, and inflammation.
To explore pain management treatment options available in Birmingham, schedule a consultation with our pain clinic today! Contact us online or by phone at (205) 900-3927.