A variety of health issues can eventually lead a person to develop issues with chronic pain. Sometimes chronic muscular pain develops after an injury such as a vehicle accident or a sports injury. In other cases, chronic pain develops from the simple “wear and tear” that the human body undergoes as it ages. This is particularly true for muscular pain associated with spinal issues. Others may develop muscular disorders such as Myofascial Pain Syndrome, a syndrome that causes a person to experience chronic, oftentimes debilitating, muscular pain.
Regardless of the reasons why a person may experience chronic muscular pain, the good news is that today, physicians and their patients have a range of minimally-invasive treatments they can take advantage of to treat pain. Trigger point injections are one such treatment. In this article, we’ll define both trigger points and trigger point injections, we’ll give a brief description of how the injections are administered, and we’ll discuss some of the medical conditions that trigger point injections are designed to address.
What are Trigger Points?
Myofascia consists of tight bands of highly-sensitive bundles of fiber that surround muscles throughout the human body. The connective tissue that makes up the myofascia, operates much like scaffolding that is sometimes placed around buildings. Myofascia operates similarly by providing support and protection for the muscle it surrounds.
Sometimes, the myofascia surrounding a muscle or a group of muscles begins to tighten and contract, leading the adjacent muscles to develop painful knots (also known as trigger points). These knots, or trigger points, can produce intense levels of localized pain and/or referred pain.
Trigger Point Injections Defined
The medical community has discovered that injecting certain substances directly into a patient’s painful trigger points can help reduce or even eliminate their pain altogether. These injections, also known as trigger point injections, are administered by a physician trained in the procedure. Depending upon the severity of a patient’s pain and the underlying cause of their pain, a physician may decide to inject some or all, of the following substances:
- A local anesthetic to block pain receptors in the muscles
- Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation affecting a muscle and its connective tissue
- Botox to both prevent a muscle from contracting, and to interfere with nerve signaling pathways responsible for sending pain signals to the brain
Trigger point injections are minimally-invasive and can be performed in the office of a physician who has been trained in their administration. Some people will experience pain relief with only one set of injections, whereas other patients may need additional injection(s) to obtain maximum pain relief.
What Health Conditions Do Trigger Point Injections Address?
As mentioned, trigger points can occur after muscles and adjacent tissue become injured. After an accident or sports injury, the myofascia and the muscles they cover, can become irritated, weak, and prone to spasms and/or referred pain.
Trigger points can also occur as a result of gradual wear and tear of the body, especially around the spinal area. As one ages and their spinal structures begin to degenerate, the muscles adjacent to the spine become overworked and irritated due to the additional load placed on them. This, along with the lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle that often comes with aging, means a person’s muscles gradually become weak and inflexible with a reduced range of motion, all of which can lead to the development of painful trigger points.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome, or MPS, is another condition for which trigger point injections can be very helpful. For people with MPS, trigger point injections can be a part of an overall treatment plan that includes other treatments such as physical therapy, massage, and certain medications. Trigger point injections may also be used in the treatment of tension headaches and fibromyalgia.
Want to know more about trigger point injections and what they can do to help relieve your muscular pain? Take the first step to a new life of pain-free living by filling out the form below!
The above information is for general education purposes only. Please ask your doctor specific questions during your visit.