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Understanding Trigger Point Injections

If you’ve got knotted muscles that are so tight they just won’t relax in response to movement, massage, electrical stimulation, or other methods of manipulation, a trigger point injection may be an option.

You can often feel these knots under the skin as bundles of clenched muscle. Depending on where they’re located, trigger points can irritate surrounding nerves and cause pain in more than just that area. This referred pain can make daily activity, exercise, and other physical tasks nearly impossible.

Trigger point injections involve inserting a needle into the painful trigger point, a treatment that may be recommended when other therapies fail to help you find relief. The injections may contain saline, lidocaine — a local anesthetic — or corticosteroids. These agents contribute to pain reduction, but they aren’t the only reason the injections work: Aggressive stimulation from the needle also helps release the tightness.

Trigger point injections may just be the solution to reduce or eliminate pain in intensely tight areas in your lower back, neck, arms, or legs. 

At Integrated Spine & Pain Care in Farmingdale and Deer Park, New York, Dr. Mikael Sarij, and his team, may also recommend them to treat chronic pain and fibromyalgia. Read on to learn how this quick treatment can provide you long-term relief.

Elicit a “twitch” response

Research shows that trigger point injections are often most successful when they activate local twitch responses. When you’re injected, you feel the muscles actively tense and immediately release. The sensation comes involuntarily and causes the muscle to quiver with relief.

It’s believed that local nerve endings are effectively relieved when this response occurs. If a twitch response doesn’t occur, the positive effects of the trigger point injection may not be as great.

Relax fibers

A tight muscle is short and tense. The needle effectively relaxes and lengthens the tight muscle fibers to relieve trigger point pain. The agents injected help the blood vessels in the area expand and receive more nutrient-rich blood, which can also help lessen pain.

Release surrounding pain

When the tight bundle of nerves releases, the surrounding nerves and, thus, associated pain, also find relief. No longer is the tight muscle irritating areas outside of the trigger point itself. Your body can work better and is more balanced, so pain is reduced.

Dry needling versus trigger point injections

Dry needling is a technique similar to trigger point injections but without anything injected during the treatment. The needle is inserted into the trigger point to elicit the twitch response and relieve associated nerves. Dry needling may be preferred if you’re allergic to specific medications.

Trigger point injections can cause slight discomfort during treatment, but the long-term relief is worth the momentary pain. Multiple trigger points may be treated in one session.

If you’ve got palpable points of tight muscle knots under your skin that cause you pain and distress and interfere with daily function, consult Integrated Spine And Pain Care. Contact our Farmingdale or Deer Park office to schedule a consultation. Our team members are standing by to get you started.

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