What are Trigger Points (TrP)? Trigger Points are a palpable nodule in the bands of the skeletal muscles fascia. It can be a hyperirritable spot or a “knot” and with direct compression or a muscle contraction it can be quite tender.
Trigger points develop in the myofascia, or the center of a muscle. They are palpable nodules which can be associated with muscle tenderness and found at multiple sites in a muscle.
What are some of the causes?
They can be present because of a fall, stress, lack of exercise, aging, bad posture, muscle overuse, chronic stress condition (anxiety, depression), sleep disturbance and even joint problems.
What are some of the symptoms and clinical findings?
Sometimes people can have chronic pain, muscle weakness or imbalance, changes in range of motion, painful movements, tension headaches, temporomendlibular joint problems, and even postural abnormalities and compensations.
How can trigger points be managed?
Discuss with your medical provider various pain reliever medications. Consider going to physical therapy to evaluate your posture, passive stretching exercises, self massage, strengthening, taping, relaxation techniques, ultrasound, Diathermy, Iontophoresis, just to name a few. Perhaps, consider trigger point injections. These injections are utilizing a small needle and injecting local anesthetic, or saline, or corticosteroid or even a neurotoxin.
Where do trigger point injections work? Most anywhere in the body, such as, back, neck, shoulders, arms, legs. Most patients experience pain relief and increased range of motion immediately or soon after the procedure. The therapeutic effect of the injections can last around 30 days. However, depending on the severity of the injury or condition, they may last less than 30 days.
Are there any side effect to trigger point injections?
Trigger point injections generally carry few risks or side effects. Complications are rare. Rarely is there any bleeding or increased pain. The injections should not be performed in the presence of systemic or local infection, therefore should not be ill. Some side effects may include: numbness or swelling around the injection site, discoloration, and can also have some lightheadedness.