WHAT IS A TRIGGER POINT?
What is a trigger point?
Trigger points are found throughout the body and are typically dormant and not painful. Trigger points may become symptomatic (pain or ache) when there is an injury or some type of muscle irritation A trigger point is a portion of the muscle that has become a source of pain and dysfunction. It usually consists of a nodule or band that can be felt by pressing the skin over the muscle. When the trigger point is pressed, it will feel sore and a cause pain which can refer to another body part. Trigger points are found throughout the body and are typically dormant and not painful. Trigger points may become symptomatic (pain or ache) when there is an injury or some type of muscle irritation.
What is accomplished by injecting a trigger point?
Injecting a trigger point can help to release tension in the muscle band and help the body to heal. Without injections, it may last weeks, months or become chronic. Furthermore, if left untreated, a single trigger point can promote the development of other trigger points in nearby muscles.
What is the injection like?
While the trigger point is being injected, you may briefly experience a burning and achy sensation. Deep tissue massage and manual release of the trigger points within 3 hours of the injections are recommended. Some people experience a brief period of muscle soreness and pain, but this usually does not last longer than 24 hours.
How many trigger points will be injected during a single session?
The first time you receive an injection, your doctor will probably limit the number of trigger points injected to 3-4. The actual number is often dependent of the physician and their preferences. Typically a series of three injections are beneficial over a couple of months. Based on your initial response, you and your physician will be able to determine the appropriateness of additional injections.
Are there any special preparations?
No. Plan to have some form of deep tissue massage after the injection within a 3 hour window.
How long does the effect of the injection last?
The beneficial effect of the injections depends on your overall treatment program, including physical therapy and your regular performance of home exercises. When the injections are done in this context, a single series of injections should provide long-lasting benefit. Some individuals, despite diligent effort to performing the exercises, experience chronic recurrences and require more injections.
Are there any side effects?
Overall, this is a procedure with minimal risks, although no invasive procedure is totally risk free. Potential adverse effects include temporary muscle soreness, infection, bleeding, weakness in the injected muscles up to 45 minutes (rare), or partial collapse of the lung (extremely rare). Allergies to medications could also occur, but are extremely rare.
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