What is a trigger point?
A trigger point is a tight, painful area in a muscle or in the connective tissues surrounding your muscles (fascia). You can feel the small knotted area, and you’ll experience pain when it’s touched. You may have one trigger point or several, small trigger points along a band of muscles. A condition called myofascial pain syndrome develops when trigger points cause ongoing, persistent pain.
There are two types of trigger points:
Active trigger points
Active trigger points are extremely sensitive to touch, but you can often feel the pain even when you’re resting. When you press on the knotted area, an automatic twitch response occurs in the muscle. This type of trigger point often causes pain in another part of your body.
Latent trigger points
A latent trigger point only feels painful when pressure is applied to the area. These trigger points are more likely to cause muscles weakness or stiffness that limits your movement.
What causes trigger points?
Trigger points develop when your muscle contracts repeatedly. For many patients, this type of muscle activity is caused by:
• Repetitive activities like typing or pitching
• Sustained loading as you carry or lift heavy items
• Direct injury usually due to a fall or sports injury
• Poor posture that places stress on muscles
• Tense muscles due to overuse or stress
Staying inactive for a long time can also lead to trigger points.
What is a trigger point injection?
The first line of treatment for a trigger point may include muscle relaxants, physical therapy to stretch the muscle, or therapeutic massage to help relieve the tension causing the trigger point. When traditional therapies fail to relieve your pain, you may benefit from a trigger point injection.
Trigger point injections contain a local anesthetic such as lidocaine. In some cases, your doctor may also mix a corticosteroid with the lidocaine. The anesthetic provides quick relief, while the steroid reduces inflammation and helps the muscle relax.
A trigger point injection only takes a few minutes. Your doctor at Neurology Consultants of Nebraska isolates the knotted tissue, inserts the needle into the area, and injects the medication.
Have questions or want more information? Please call us to schedule an appointment (402) 552-2650.