Tender knots in muscles that are causing a patient general muscle pain when touched and aching in the area surrounding the knot are referred to as a ‘trigger point.’ If you have ever given a massage you may have noticed that sometimes muscles feel tighter in certain areas, normally where someone is complaining of soreness, and you may even be able to feel a knot under the surface of the skin. These trigger points can be very sensitive. When our muscles fail to completely relax, trigger points develop. This could be from inflammation, trauma/injury, stress and even poor posture. Often your orthopaedics physician will recommend a trigger point injection to help relieve some of the pain.
Trigger point injections work by paralyzing the knot, offering relief from pain for a few days and sometimes a few weeks. The injection contains an anesthetic mixture, which numbs the knot and allows it to relax. Often pain can be reduced immediately and the injections are targeted to the areas that are the most tight and painful. If the first injection does not yield results, sometimes the physician will inject in a different angle or area until they find the spot that will provide the most relief to the patient. Trigger point injections have been found to help people suffering with spinal diseases, fibromyalgia and severe injuries.
Once the injection is over, a physician may put a small bandage on the area that was injected, although most often that isn’t needed. It is encouraged that the patient try to stretch and exercise after trigger point injections so that the area continues to be relaxed.