Trigger Point injections
What is a trigger point?
A trigger point is a localized area of extreme tenderness found within a muscle. The area of tenderness is caused by a heightened state of muscle activity that results in a small sustained muscle contraction. After a prolonged period of time, a taut band develops that will not relax on its own. Trigger points are referred to as “active” when they cause noticeable pain without provocation, while “latent” trigger points elicit pain only when manipulated by a therapist.
Why did I get a trigger point?
While the cause of trigger points is not completely understood, many precipitating factors are associated with their onset. Trigger points may be due to muscle overload, trauma and sustained shortened position of muscle. Other causative factors include arthritis, joint dysfunction, emotional stress or other existing trigger points. Trigger points are often exacerbated by poor posture, repetitive motion or nutritional deficits.
Why is it important to treat a trigger point?
Trigger points can cause pain, inhibit muscle function and decrease muscle strength. Pain is either localized to the area of the trigger point or refers pain to other areas. The symptoms combined with a muscle weakness and/or decreased range of motion, results in altered movement patterns and impaired function. Therefore, release of these nodules is essential to decrease pain, increase strength and range of motion which will improve movement and functioning.
What is the treatment for trigger points?
Several modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation are commonly used to treat trigger points, but the success rate is marginal, especially in chronic conditions. Manual therapy techniques including soft tissue mobilization, manual compression techniques and stretching deliver favorable results. However, these modalities can sometimes be painful or the trigger point may not completely release. A trigger point injection is another technique that has shown to be one of the most effective procedures for releasing trigger points. The injection can reach and release deeper muscles which are difficult to reach using other techniques. After the injection breaks the pain cycle by resolving the trigger point, other treatment techniques focusing on muscle strengthening, stretching and rehabilitation can help restore normal function.