Trigger points are certain spots within a band of skeletal muscle that relay pain or a tingling sensation from one area in the body to another. These knots of muscles are created when muscles are unable to relax, irritating surrounding nerves and causing pain. They usually form because of an injury, repetitive stress, or a musculoskeletal disorder.
To treat these muscle knots, trigger point injection (TPI) therapy is used. This is a non-invasive and non-surgical procedure that helps alleviate the chronic pain caused by trigger points.
How Do Trigger Point Injections Work?
In the TPI treatment procedure, a small needle is inserted into the patient’s specific trigger point. The injection comprises a local anesthetic that relaxes the knot of muscles and makes it inactive. As the tightness of the muscles is gradually released, the pain caused by them is alleviated. Patients experience instant pain relief after being injected.
TPI therapy is a short procedure and requires only a few minutes. Depending on the severity of the pain and the site being injected, multiple sessions may be required for the results to take full effect. In this case, the sessions are scheduled 1–2 weeks apart and lead to a significant reduction in muscle pain.
When Are Trigger Point Injections Used?
Trigger point injection therapy may be used for treating a number of health conditions. Most prominently, though, it’s used to alleviate musculoskeletal pain and discomfort.
The muscle groups in the arms, legs, neck, shoulders, heels, knees, and lower back are most commonly targeted in the treatment. Individuals with a severe musculoskeletal condition or those who have received a sports injury particularly benefit from TPI therapy. The injections can help lower and eventually eliminate muscle stress, joint pain, tendon sprains, and ligament strains.
In addition to this, TPI is also extremely effective in treating fibromyalgia as well as tension headaches. It may also be used for treating myofascial pain syndrome, which is a condition where the person experiences chronic pain in the tissue surrounding muscles. The injection treatment helps to relax muscles and release tension.
Contraindications for Trigger Point Injections
If the patient has a local or systemic infection, then TPI isn’t recommended. Similarly, for individuals with bleeding disorders, TPI should be avoided unless approved by their doctor. This is because there’s a possibility of them experiencing increased bleeding after being injected, although this isn’t always the case.
Apart from this, patients who appear to be ill, use steroids, have diabetes mellitus, are pregnant, or are allergic to the anesthetic agent used are also advised to refrain from trigger point injection therapy.
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