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Chronic musculoskeletal conditions are relatively common in the United States, affecting about 10% of all Americans, or roughly 23 million people. One of the most common of these conditions is myofascial pain syndrome, a muscle disorder caused by myofascial trigger points. At Summit Health Group our team provides trigger point injection therapy to patients.
What are trigger points?
Myofascial trigger points are tiny knots that develop in the myofascial tissue that covers your muscles. Although they often form in response to acute muscle trauma or a series of repeated traumas, trigger points can also develop from insufficient physical activity or a long-term lack of activity, poor posture, sleep disorders, and nutritional deficiencies.
Active trigger points can cause a substantial amount of discomfort that patients often describe as a persistent, regional pain that spreads or radiates. Trigger points may be tender to the touch, or they may cause referred pain, a type of pain that’s felt somewhere far from the trigger point itself.
How can trigger points affect other areas?
Trigger point pain may be localized to start with, but it can quickly spread to nearby areas, increasing your discomfort and further limiting your body’s functionality and range of motion. When trigger point knots stud myofascial tissue, the underlying muscle becomes weaker, forcing nearby muscles to compensate.
When this type of radiating pain, muscle weakness, and over-compensation affects your neck, shoulders, lower back, or pelvic region, it can be difficult to maintain correct posture. Chronic poor posture can throw your spine out of alignment and give rise to a multitude of issues, including persistent back pain, sciatica, neck pain, jaw pain, and tension headaches.
What are trigger point injections?
Prescription muscle relaxers may be the traditional route for treating myofascial trigger point pain, but they only provide temporary relief, and that relief comes with the risk of side effects. By contrast, trigger point injections are a safe, natural, and effective solution that addresses the root of the problem.
Trigger point injection therapy is a quick, in-office procedure that starts with a comprehensive physical examination to establish the precise locations and severity of your trigger points. Although the procedure uses small needles and is relatively painless, your dedicated Summit Health Group practitioner can administer a small amount of lidocaine to numb the treatment area for sensitive patients. After cleaning the injection site, your caregiver will gently pull your skin taut and inject an anesthetic mixture directly into the trigger point, causing the knot in the myofascial tissue to relax. If the trigger point doesn’t relax completely after one injection, an additional injection -- administered from a slightly different angle -- may be required.
Trigger point injection therapy provides immediate, long-term pain relief for most patients. After treatment, it’s important to keep your muscles moving by performing the exercises and stretches that your Summit Health Group provider recommends.
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