Chronic pain associated with trigger points can lead to debilitating activities and function for many years. Often, because trigger points are rarely considered part of a comprehensive chronic pain program, individuals who suffer from this type of pain face a decrease in the quality of life, often associated with decreased mobility.
What is a trigger point and how to do you know if you suffer from the pain associated with a trigger point? Trigger point is the term used to describe a complication that involves the hypersensitivity of a taut muscle. Trigger points are not something we are born with and instead develop from repetitive pain or trauma to the musculoskeletal system, leading to localized pain within a particular muscle group. In many cases, trigger pain is associated with repetitive stress but can also be related to an injury that affects nerves and muscle groups.
Trigger point muscle pain is most often associated with chronic headache pain as that associated with migraine pain and is associated with lower back pain usually from a recent injury. Often, upon physical examination, the healthcare professional can identify the trigger point along a taut muscle by simply placing the fingers in the region your pain even if it is localized on the head. When palpitated, the trigger point will feel like a nodule or a harder than normal presence of muscle fibers, often eliciting a pain response from you in the process.
If you suffer from chronic pain associated with trigger points in your muscular system, there are many treatment options available to you. Treatment options for pain relief range from injections to therapy with trigger point injections offering a most efficient treatment option, achieving pain relief the quickest.
What is a trigger point injection? As an injection that is placed directly into the trigger point muscle area, the use of trigger point injections provides almost instant relief to pain. To achieve optimal results, the trigger point injection, however, can not be done if you have used aspirin within three days of the procedure. Generally, a 22-gauge or 21-gauge needle is used, depending on the muscle group involved and substances injected into the taut muscle run a spectrum of options from lidocaine to Botox to corticosteroids.
Once the trigger point injection is complete, you should experience an almost instantaneous relief of trigger point pain but may note some soreness at the injection site. Often, this soreness will dissipate within three to four days. The trigger point injections can be repeated two or three times, each about a week apart, but are never recommended on more than three occasions due to the lack of effectiveness. Following the trigger point injections, you will need to continue in physical or massage therapy to work the muscle and continue to stretching in an effort to heal the muscular damage but never over exert the muscle group.
While trigger point injections seem to be the most efficient way in which to resolve chronic pain, there are many patients who simply are not candidates for trigger point injections. Chronic pain patients who suffer from bleeding disorders, those who also suffer from any type of infection and those with acute muscle injury should avoid trigger point injections.
As with any consideration to management of chronic pain, it is important to discuss the variety of options available to you. Because trigger point injections provide for an almost instantaneous relief of trigger point pain, many patients are turning to this option, often utilizing the three injection series over a one month period. When not indicated, other options such as therapy and prescription medications are the only alternatives option to chronic pain patients with trigger point pain.