Trigger Point Injections for Myofascial Pain: What to Expect

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Trigger Point Injections for Myofascial Pain: What to Expect

The feeling of being “tied up in knots” after physical exertion may be less of a metaphor than it seems. Myofascial trigger points form from literal knots of hard muscle and connective tissue. Trigger point injections treat deep, difficult knots.

Aches, discomfort, and pain that you associate with tired or overworked muscles may actually originate in a thin but prolific layer of tissue called the fascia. It’s a key connective tissue that surrounds virtually every component of your body. 

Myofascial tissue is often the culprit when you feel knots of muscle at sore spots. The triangular section of your shoulders and upper back are a common place to find these knots, called myofascial trigger points

While these tender spots may not always require treatment beyond rest or massage, sometimes a myofascial trigger point may be persistent or a stubborn pain generator.

Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management in West Des Moines and Des Moines, Iowa, offers trigger point injections to loosen up myofascial knots, relieving pain and improving mobility. We’ve provided this primer on what to expect from a trigger point injection treatment. 

The role of fascia

As well as supporting organs and other tissue in place, fascia facilitates movement. Though it’s thin overall, the fascia has layers separated by a watery component called hyaluronan, which is smooth and slick under normal conditions, reducing friction between mobile layers of your body. 

When myofascial tissue endures stress, this hyaluronan dries, allowing the fascia to bind and stick, creating the knots associated with pain and stiffness. 

In addition, fascia carries enough nerve tissue that it’s almost as sensitive as your skin. When a myofascial knot forms, nerves compress or inflame, causing pain. 

One characteristic of myofascial trigger point pain is that pressing on the knot creates pain at the point of pressure as well as pain that radiates away from the knot. This helps you tell myofascial trigger points from tender points in muscles. A tender point doesn’t radiate pain. 

Trigger point injections for myofascial pain

Often, time and rest are enough for a myofascial trigger point to heal. When one doesn’t respond to conservative treatment, we may recommend trigger point injection therapy. At its simplest, this therapy involves using a dry needle to stimulate or break up the sticky points in the fascia, called adhesions. 

Once the needle is inserted, your caregiver typically moves it back and forth without removing it to create a series of tiny holes in the fascial tissue. This stimulation jump-starts your body’s natural healing. 

As well as dry needling, you may receive injections that relieve pain, reduce inflammation, or relax the tissue surrounding the trigger point. It’s common to inject a local anesthetic, since manipulating the trigger point may be uncomfortable throughout your treatment. 

Corticosteroids, powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, may be an option if we suspect that swelling is complicating the pain associated with the trigger point. Steroids offer long-term reduction of inflammation, which can aid the natural recovery of myofascial tissue. 

The providers at Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management are trigger point injection specialists. Contact our nearest office by phone or book your appointment using the online tool. Relief from lingering trigger point pain is close at hand, so schedule your visit today.