Trigger Point Injections (TPI)
What Is a Trigger Point?
Trigger points are painful "knots" in your muscle. They are commonly found in muscle (myo) and its lining (fascia) and are called “myofascial” trigger points. The painful point can be felt as a nodule or band in the muscle, and a twitch response can be elicited on stimulation of the trigger point. They form when a muscle can't relax which causes decreased circulation, increased muscle contraction, spasm and increased nerve sensitivity causing a sharp pain or a constant ache. They also can cause referred or radiating pain, or pain felt in other parts of the body. For example, a trigger point in your neck and shoulder region can radiate or refer pain into your arm. A trigger point in your lower back may create pain that seizes your hip or creates pressure or pain in your leg.
What Causes Trigger Points?
Trigger points develop from either stress, repetitive/overuse of a muscle, trauma/accident, structural imbalance, improper stretching or no stretching before physical activity. When a muscle is overused or injured a contraction develops and knots occur. These knots develop when individual muscle fibers are over-stimulated and unable to relax. This contraction reduces blood flow resulting in a diminished supply of oxygen and a build up of metabolic waste (toxins). The contracted muscle (trigger point) reacts by sending out signals of pain. Trigger points are a source of great discomfort; and when left untreated, trigger points typically do not go away by themselves.
What Is a Trigger Point Injection (TPI)?
A Trigger Point Injection (TPI) can help immediately soothe muscle pain, especially in your neck, lower back, arms and legs. It also can be used to relieve pain from tension headaches, migraines, myofascial pain and fibromyalgia. Trigger points are painful “knots” in your muscles. They form when a muscle can’t relax. Sometimes you can feel these knots when you rub your muscle. Injecting small amounts of local anesthetics, saline, nutrients, and/or homeopathics into painful muscle trigger points can help alleviate the pain, relax spasms and increase blood flow. Our office does NOT use any corticosteroids (cortisone medication) in a TPI.
How Is The Procedure Done?
In preparation for the procedure, the patient is positioned comfortably. After cleansing the skin with alcohol or another skin cleanser such as betadine over the specific trigger point injection site, the treatment solution is injected into the trigger point using a small needle. Several sites may be injected in one visit. Injections usually take just a few minutes and may cause twitching or mild pain lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes. A brief course of several treatments usually results in sustained relief. A dry-needle technique (involving no medications) can be used for patients with medication allergies. A small bandage may be placed over the injection site. The patient may be encouraged to stretch and move the muscle after the injection.
How Often Should The Procedure Be Done?
This will be discussed between you and your physician to determine what is best for your specific condition. Because our office uses local anesthetics, saline, nutrients, and/or homeopathics and does NOT use any corticosteroids in a TPI, they are much safer to perform and can be done more frequently if needed. A large number of people gain considerable to complete relief after just the first or second injection. However, if additional TPIs are needed, the frequency will be determined based on your specific condition and health goals.
What Are The Risks?
The risk of complication from a trigger point injection is very low. The most common side effects are temporary soreness and numbness at the injection site. Infection and bleeding may occur at the injection site, but this can be avoided by thoroughly cleansing the site before injection and applying pressure to the site after injection. Patients may also experience light-headedness after injections.
What Are The Expected Results?
Because trigger points are the result of an underlying chronic muscle spasm, the underlying cause of that muscle spasm must be addressed. Without focusing on the underlying cause, then trigger points are likely to reoccur even after a trigger point injection (TPI) is performed. At 360 Integrated Medical Center, we are a team of healthcare providers that work together to help you achieve long lasting health as natural as possible. Identifying the structural weaknesses and muscle imbalances that led to the trigger points is vitally important for long lasting relief. A thorough evaluation by our healthcare team can determine if you are a candidate for chiropractic care, physical therapy, myofascial release or massage.