Using ultrasound to guide injections has many advantages. It is generally lower cost when compared to other imaging methods and does not include the ionizing radiation. It is a repeatable and noninvasive modality which is able to provide real-time assessment of tissue.
What are Trigger Points?
Trigger Points are very tender areas that occur within muscles, tissues lining the muscles and/or muscle tendon junctions. They feel like firm knots or bands that are tender to touch and when pressed, produce severe pain that can be felt far from the site. Trigger points may occur spontaneously with no apparent reason, may result from extensive or repetitive physical activity, fatigue or tramua. Once they develop they tend to recur. Extreme physical activity, over stretching, exposure to cold or damp weather and stressful situations, amongst others, may cause them to become active and produce pain.
What are Trigger Point Injections?
These are injections used to treat painful trigger points. Using a fine needle, the doctor injects a local anesthetic into the trigger point. The local anesthetic instantly reduces pain, which allows for the muscles to relax. This reduces muscle spasm and furthers pain reduction. Local anesthetics also relieve irritation of surrounding nerves and help break the cycle of pain. The effectiveness of trigger point injections is usually increased by physical therapy.
How do trigger point injections feel?
Most people describe this procedure as a pinch-like sensation. A very fine needle is used to inject the local anesthetic, which both numbs the area and treats the trigger point. You will experience initial transient mild discomfort, the area will then become numb and most of the discomfort will subside.
How long will it take?
You will be in the doctor’s office for about 15-30 minutes. The doctor will need to review some information with you before starting the procedure, then you will be asked to change into a gown and lay down on the exam table.
Are there any restrictions after receiving the trigger point injection?
Generally there are no restrictions. It is recommended that no strenuous physical activity be performed in the next 24 hours.
How effective are these injections?
Trigger point injections are very effective. In most cases they produce significant pain relief, decreased muscle spasm and improved function. Some headaches respond very well to trigger point injections. Often, the doctor will recommend physical therapy in association with trigger point injections to improve effectiveness.
Trigger point injections, in association with a special type of hands-on physical therapy procedure, called myofascial release, exercise and medication are especially effective in treating FIBROMYALGIA. This condition occurs in otherwise healthy people and is characterized by the presence of multiple trigger points (neck, shoulders, anterior chest and thighs, arms and legs), body’joints aches and pains, lack of energy, non-restful sleep (waking up tired) and short-tempered mood among other symptoms.
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