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Got Pain? Here's What You Should Know About Trigger Point Injections

Got Pain? Here's What You Should Know About Trigger Point Injections

Trigger points are muscle fibers that spasm and become tightened into knots due to oversensitization or irritation. You can feel the knot under the skin, and sometimes it’s large enough to see. 

Trigger points may impinge upon a single nerve or a nerve cluster, triggering pain. When you press on these points, they not only produce pain in the affected muscle, but they also send the pain to remote locations (referred pain).

At Pinnacle Pain and Spine, double board-certified pain management specialist Dr. Matthew Crooks and his medical team understand how aggravating trigger point pain can be. That’s why they offer trigger point injections, targeted relief for these knotted clusters.

More about trigger points

You can develop trigger points anywhere in your body. They can originate from excessive strain on a particular muscle or muscle group, injury to the muscle fibers, overuse injuries (repetitive motions), or a lack of activity (an arm in a cast).

They’re also common in people with other pain-related conditions, such as fibromyalgia, perhaps because of the body’s overzealous response to pain signals.

When they form in your head, neck, and shoulder muscles, they often refer pain up into the head, leading to tension-type headaches, migraine attacks, and other headache disorders. 

The rhomboid and trapezius muscles in the upper back are common sites for trigger points, making headaches a common symptom.

Together the knots and referred pain are often called myofascial pain syndrome. It’s a catchall phrase that means you have widespread pain and inflammation in the fascia (connective tissue) around the muscle that can also refer pain somewhere else.

What are trigger point injections, and can they help me?

A trigger point injection (TPI) is a solution of saline, a local anesthetic like lidocaine, and sometimes a steroid. Dr. Crooks injects the mixture directly into the muscle knots.

You feel relief both at the spot of the injection and in the areas of referred pain, since the shot prevents muscle contractions. So if you have referred pain in your neck and head that causes headaches, you should experience reduced headache pain following the injection.

The lidocaine works by blocking pain receptors in the nerves surrounding the muscle, which reduces the pain signals sent to the brain. 

For patients allergic to the anesthetic, Dr. Crooks uses a needle without any medication in it. Called “dry needling,” this technique can be helpful, as it separates, relaxes, and lengthens the muscle fibers.

If Dr. Crooks uses a steroid, its job is to decrease the inflammation and swelling of the tissue surrounding the nerves, also helping to reduce pain.

The best candidates for TPIs are patients who have specific trigger points that generate both localized and referred pain when touched.

Are trigger point injections safe?

Yes, they are. You may experience side effects like pain and numbness at the injection site, but these are temporary, and they should resolve in a day or so.

As a result of the TPI treatment, you should have:

Some people see substantial results with just one injection, but most people need more. We can repeat the injections as needed.

If you’re dealing with painful trigger points, there’s no need to suffer. We can help with trigger point injections. Call us at 480-407-6400 to schedule an appointment at our Scottsdale, Chandler, or Fountain Hills, Arizona, location or use our online system to request a visit.

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