Relief for Tight and Knotted Muscles
What are Trigger Points?
Trigger points are tight bands of skeletal muscle or muscle knots. They produce muscle pain and often the pain can travel to other areas of the body. They can be caused by muscle injuries, poor posture, or from joint injuries as the surrounding muscle tries to ‘protect’ the injured joint.
Why is it Important to Treat Trigger Points?
Trigger point pain can greatly affect sleep and overall quality of life, and may predispose athletes/active people to injury if they are not resolved. Over time, the spasmed muscle becomes deprived of blood and becomes even more irritated and damaged. Trigger points can be cyclical as the spasm causes pain, which in turn causes more spasm, and on and on. Trigger points may also manifest as tension headaches, ringing in the ears, TMJ (jaw) pain, decreased range of motion in the legs, and low back pain.
What is the Treatment for Trigger Points?
Injection with local anesthetic (lidocaine) has been found to be one of the most effective treatments to inactivate trigger points and provide prompt relief of pain. Trigger points can be quickly relieved by introducing a small needle into the center of the irritable muscle band; at this time a very small amount of a local anesthetic is injected. This process serves two purposes:
1. The needle is thought to physically interrupt the spasmed muscle, causing it to relax.
2. Lidocaine is also a painkiller which lessens any soreness after the injection is complete.
When Will I Feel Relief and How Often Will I need to Get Injections?
Relief is often immediate. Trigger points and their surrounding pain are typically resolved in 3-4 sessions.
Why Doesn’t Dr. Winton use Corticosteroids?
There is no doubt that steroid injections work, but the benefit may not be worth the harsh side effects; which include bone loss, weakening tendons and an increased chance of local infection.