Pointing Out Pain
At some point in time, aches, sprains, strains, and even tears or fractures can happen. Some pain is acute, happening from a sudden fall, collision, or accident. Others are gradual due to conditions like arthritis. Trigger point pains are not talked about as much as other types of pain. However, a trigger point is the number one cause of muscular pain. With pain of any sort, managing the symptoms is key to recovery and a better quality of life. Today, pain management options are numerous, but a trigger point injection may be the best for this type of muscular pain.
All on the trigger
What are trigger points anyway? Trigger points are often called muscle knots or myofascial trigger points. These hyperirritable spots can happen almost anywhere and at any time. Some experts believe that trigger points contribute to some of the most common chronic pain conditions known. Muscles are essentially long bands of tough fibers. Sometimes, these fibers can develop a knot or nodule, similar to the knot in a rope. Painful trigger points can develop if the muscles constantly contract around these spots.
How trigger points form
Most trigger points happen due to repetitive stress near or around the muscle. Some doctors believe trigger points form due to constant pressure on another part of the body. Common causes include sedentary lifestyles, poor posture, repetitive stress injuries, and whiplash from car accidents. Trigger points form in the shoulder, neck, lower back, arms, and legs. These knots can also create referred pain, which is a pain in another part of the body. Over time, the pain and discomfort may impact the quality of life.
Treating your trigger point
When trigger points flare up, the goal is to reduce the tension and inflammation as soon as possible. Sometimes, this can happen after prolonged sitting, standing, or physical activity. Ice packs on the impacted spot can help with swelling and soothe aching muscles. Massage therapy is another effective way to reduce discomfort. Using these steps and anti-inflammatory medication and rest can help most trigger points.
Time for TPI
If the knot continues to cause pain and discomfort, see a doctor immediately. The doctor can try a trigger point injection (TPI). Trigger point injections are simple outpatient procedures that can reduce pain. To perform a TPI, the doctor will feel the affected body part for the knot. The doctor will then inject a tiny needle that contains a saline solution, anesthetic, and sometimes a cortisone steroid. If there are several trigger points, the patient will need multiple TPIs. There should be significant relief within a few days, though some patients feel relief in hours.
Put trigger points to bed
The pain from a trigger point can impact the quality of life. Using simple pain management techniques can help. If these fail, a doctor can use a trigger point injection. Medication in the affected points can bring much-needed relief. Continued massage therapy and exercise can improve the effectiveness of the TPI. Speak with a doctor to see if a trigger point injection can ease those pesky knots.