WHAT IS A TRIGGER POINT?
A trigger point is an irritable, painful, taut muscle band or palpable
knot in a muscle that can cause localized pain or referred pain. Referred
pain from trigger points can mimic pinched nerves in the neck or low back.
They can occur from direct muscle injuries, poor posture, repetitive strain,
or secondarily from spine conditions such as a herniated disc.
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain condition in which
there may be several trigger points limited to a particular area of the
body. The pain and spasm associated with trigger points can lead to a
vicious pain cycle.
Myofascial pain syndrome should not be confused with fibromyalgia.
Myofascial pain syndrome is a regional or localized pain syndrome, while FMS (fibromyalgia syndrome)
is a widespread
musculoskeletal pain syndrome.
WHERE ARE TRIGGER POINTS?
The specific location of pain
varies depending on which muscles are involved.
Neck and upper back
Arm and shoulder
Back and buttocks
WHAT ARE TRIGGER POINT INJECTIONS?
Trigger point injections are injections of local anesthetic (numbing)
medication, saline, and/or cortisone into the trigger point(s). The basis
for a trigger point injection is to relax the area of intense muscle spasm.
By relaxing the muscle spasm, blood flow to the area is improved thus
allowing the washout of irritating metabolites. Trigger point injections are
an important part of treating Myofascial pain syndrome and, in some cases,
fibromyalgia. Multiple injections are often performed in series.
Trigger point injections are often done in an office setting. Other treatments for trigger points
include stretching exercises, application of heat, improvements in posture, electrical
stimulation, and stress reduction.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER TRIGGER POINT INJECTIONS?
You may experience soreness, bruising, or even an increase in pain for a
few days until your body has time to recuperate from the injections. Heat
and stretching exercises may help to lessen the discomfort.