Nearly half of American adults are living with a musculoskeletal disorder. These conditions often cause pain, muscle tension, and reduced mobility.
A common side effect of musculoskeletal conditions is the trigger point — an area of tension and soreness in the muscles. Trigger points often develop in the shoulders and back, causing back pain, neck stiffness, or headaches. If you have a trigger point, using the muscle can cause radiating pain.
Trigger point pain can make it hard to enjoy an active lifestyle. For the best in pain management techniques, turn to Scott Wagner Integrated Medicine in Charlottesville, Virginia. Our team is highly-experienced in providing trigger point injections to manage pain and restore your quality of life.
How trigger points form
To understand the science behind trigger point injections, it’s helpful to understand trigger points themselves and why they cause pain.
A trigger point is an area of pain that develops when muscles can’t relax. Common in the shoulders, back, and neck, trigger points appear as tight knots in muscles. They restrict your range of motion and can make performing daily tasks difficult.
Trigger points are usually easy to locate because they’re raised knots of muscle below your skin’s surface. When pressed, the knot hurts and may elicit a twitch response. Pain from trigger points can radiate from the muscle knot.
Trigger points can develop as a side effect of chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, or tension headaches. Sometimes, trigger points form as a result of repetitive movements and general musculoskeletal pain.
Treating trigger points
Treatment options for trigger points include physical therapy and pain medications, but they’re not always effective. Trigger point injections are a minimally invasive treatment option that has the power to dramatically relieve pain with localized medication.
At Scott Wagner Integrated Medicine, your provider finds your trigger point by gently pressing around the area. Once we locate the trigger point, we use a small needle to inject the medication into your muscle.
Why trigger point injections work to relieve pain
Trigger point injections have an anesthetic for pain management, like lidocaine or bupivacaine. Some injections contain a corticosteroid with or without anesthetic. These anesthetics and steroids, injected directly into the muscle, instantly inactivate the trigger point.
The anesthetic works to dull pain sensations and the steroid helps lower inflammation and eliminate the trigger point. Medication disburses the trigger point when other treatments, like physical therapy, can’t. Many patients feel immediate relief following trigger point injections, but the full benefit of the steroid medication may take 24-48 hours.
Trigger point injections come with very few risks. You may experience temporary numbness or pain around the injection site. You can begin using your muscle immediately after treatment, but it’s a good idea to avoid strenuous activity for a few days after your injections.
With just a short series of trigger point injections, you can achieve long-lasting pain relief from conditions like fibromyalgia, tension headaches, myofascial pain syndrome, and other common conditions that don’t respond well to other treatments.
If muscle knots and chronic pain are limiting your mobility and reducing your quality of life, it’s time to find out if trigger point injections are right for you. Make your appointment today by calling our office at 434-978-04888, or request a consultation online.