Trigger points are discrete, localized, hyper–irritable spots located in a taut band of muscle. They can be felt while massaging the affected muscle and are described as knots when felt. The pain is exaggerated by pressing on the area. The pain occurs at the trigger point and can also radiate into other areas of the same muscle. The pain can be debilitating at times causing tension like headaches, muscle spasm, and can restrict movement of the muscle.
Trigger points commonly occur at muscles that are used for posture such as muscles in the neck, shoulders, pelvic girdle, and the lower back. The trapezius muscle is one of the most common muscles affected located in the neck. The pain can be felt in the shoulders, neck, and to the base of the scalp. This is the most common area we treat.
Trigger point injections under ultrasound guidance are a form of treatment we offer at Prairie Spine & Pain Institute. Using sterile technique, we inject a local anesthetic, much like the numbing medicine used at the dentist, directly into the muscle that is affected. We specifically target the trigger point (the area that is most tender). The goal is to break up the trigger point, releasing the knot, and eliminating the pain.
Most patients notice instant relief after the injection. The local anesthetic we use is fast acting, allowing immediate action of pain relief. We then add some manual therapy to help release the stiffened muscle. It is an effective form of treatment that a lot of our patients have found success with.
Trigger points are often overlooked as sources of neck and back pain. Injections are an easy, safe, and efficient way of eliminating these sources of nagging muscle pains.
About The Author: Derek N. Morrow, PA-C is a physician assistant with Prairie Spine and Pain Institute. Derek works in the clinic setting as a health care provider seeing patients. He is also utilized in the operating room as a first assist in surgery. In the clinic setting, his key function is to diagnose new patients and conduct their initial treatment. He works directly with patients to establish customized treatment programs and to monitor their progress. He also conducts history and physical evaluations for many patients. He performs many office procedures including trigger point injections, large joint injections, and bursa injections, all with the help of ultrasound guidance. He is radiologically trained, and uses his knowledge of X-ray, Ultrasound, MRI, CT, and EMG-Nerve Conduction Studies to establish a diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment. Derek is surgically trained and plays a vital role in the procedures we perform at Prairie Spine and Pain Institute.