What is a trigger point?
Trigger points are tight bands of muscle, and inflammation of the tissue around those bands. They feel like “knots” in the muscle. Trigger points can cause severe pain, muscle stiffness, and a decrease in range-of-motion. In addition, the pain from trigger points can radiate to surrounding areas. This is called referred pain.
What is the purpose of trigger point treatment?
Sometimes, trigger points are the primary problem, due to an underlying myofascial issue. Other times, trigger points are a secondary problem and form as the body’s response to a different issue (i.e. disc pain, facet pain, etc). In either case, trigger points can be extremely painful and can severely limit range of motion. This can hinder everyday activities. Treating these trigger points can reduce pain and increase function.
How is the procedure performed?
The ideal treatment of trigger points is deep therapeutic massage and trigger point injections. This is all done manually by a certified therapist, sometimes in conjunction with alignment and adjustments by a chiropractor. The therapeutic massage and trigger point manipulation is a 45 minute treatment. The goal of this treatment is to force the taught band of muscle to relax which then leads to resolution of the inflammation in the area. The problem with this treatment is that the deep pressure needed to relax the trigger point can be painful. To help solve this problem, we will “numb” the trigger point first with a small injection of local anesthetic. This will allow greater pressure to be applied, for a greater duration of time, leading to substantially better results.
Will the procedure be painful?
The injection of the trigger points is nearly pain free since the needle is quite small and the injection is not deep. The therapeutic massage and trigger point manipulation afterwards can be adjusted for each individual patient so that the process is not painful. The treatment should be as deep as the patient can tolerate without causing pain.
What are the discharge instructions?
Drink plenty of water after the treatment. You may resume your normal diet and activity immediately.
What are the risks and side effects?
There is almost no risk involved with this procedure. Whenever a needle enters the skin, bleeding or infection can occur.
You may have an allergic reaction to any of the local anesthetic used. If you have a known allergy to any medications, especially local anesthetics, notify our staff before the procedure takes place.
You may experience moderate discomfort and soreness in the area of treatment for about 24 hours. If this occurs, take anti-inflammatories or pain medications, and apply moist heat in the day(s) following.
How long does it take for the procedure to work?
You should experience significant relaxation of the trigger point(s) and surrounding muscles immediately. They will continue to relax and improve over the next 24-48 hours as the inflammation resolves. Daily stretching as instructed will help prolong the effects of this treatment.