Trigger Point Injections + Exercise = Musculoskeletal Pain Relief

A trigger point in a muscle is a knot that occurs when the muscle fails to relax. Normal muscles at rest are relaxed with the ability to contract or stretch; trigger points develop when the muscles are too restricted and cannot move properly. Trigger points appear for a number of reasons, including injuries, stress, inflammation, trauma or poor posture. Injections are often used to treat trigger points in the arms, legs, neck and lower back.

The injection works as an “ischemic massage,” paralyzing the knot and allowing patients to feel relief for days or weeks. The benefits of lidocaine trigger point injections for patients suffering from chronic pain in an isolated part of the body have been confirmed by a recent study of 37 patients over eight years. The study measured treatment success based on decreased dependence on pain medications, decreased disability and improvement in pain and overall quality of life. Patients exhibited varied pain symptoms and diagnoses prior to the study, including spinal disease, fibromyalgia and severe injuries. All of the patients experienced some relief from the treatment, and success was heightened in cases where trigger point injection therapy was combined with exercise or other pain relief therapies.

Exercise is important for patients who receive trigger point injections because it stops tension from returning to the muscles. Stretching exercises or targeted physical therapy can increase benefits in patients with chronic pain. For cases of localized pain too sensitive to handle the pain of trigger point injections, lidocaine patches have proven effective. However, direct injections are more effective than the patch for diffusive pain or unidentifiable trigger points.

Trigger point injections are often used to alleviate acute and chronic lower back pain caused by injuries or trauma to muscles in the back. Treatments typically last about two to three minutes, and low back pain sufferers often experience prolonged complete relief. Combined with exercise and a healthy lifestyle, trigger point injections can effectively alleviate low back pain without surgery or more invasive treatments.


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