Understanding Your Trigger Points

Understanding Your Trigger Points

Our bodies take a lot of strain and stress every day, sometimes more than we know. If you get to the end of the week and your muscles are sore and tight, you may have painful trigger points forming.

Trigger points are painful spots in the muscles or tissues that are sensitive or painful to touch. These knots form after trauma or repetitive use of certain areas of the body, specifically the shoulders, neck, and back.

If you're tired of living with painful trigger points, Dr. Schachi Patel offers trigger point injections and other pain management techniques for long-term relief at her practice, Delmarva Pain and Spine Center.

Dr. Patel is a pain management specialist providing various therapies and treatments to relieve even the most stubborn forms of pain.

What are trigger points?

Muscles are the parts of the body that allow you to move, support your joints, and circulate blood throughout the body. There are different types of muscle, including cardiac, smooth, and skeletal.

Skeletal muscles surround your bones and joints, providing strength and stability to the body. They help you hold up your posture and lift heavy objects. Unfortunately, the muscles take a lot of strain throughout your lifetime.

When you have repetitive trauma or an injury to a specific muscle, you may develop something called a trigger point. It's an area where a bump or knot forms in the tissues, sometimes causing intense pain.

A trigger point is a tight, spasming area in a skeletal muscle group that may cause pain or tenderness when touched. There are two types of trigger points – active and passive.

Passive trigger points are only painful in the immediate area of the muscle knot. Pressing on a passive trigger point causes discomfort in that specific muscle.

Active trigger points cause pain in the direct area of the knot but also in other regions of the body. For example, a trigger point in the shoulder may produce pain in the arm or chest when you touch it.

Common trigger points in the body

You could get a trigger point in any skeletal muscle. Still, they're more common in larger areas of muscle that you use repetitively.

Any tense area of a tight muscle can end up in a trigger point. However, there are some areas more prone to stress and injury, including:

Small areas of trigger points may only cause pain for a short time. In contrast, widespread areas of muscle tension may lead to chronic pain or myofascial pain syndrome.

Myofascial pain syndrome happens when multiple trigger points cause pain in various body areas, leading to long-term discomfort.

How do we treat trigger point pain?

If you have a painful trigger point that you can't seem to tame on your own, Dr. Patel has several treatment options to help you find relief. She carefully evaluates your pain to determine the best route of treatment.

Conservative treatments for trigger points include foam rolling over painful trigger points or using a tennis ball to pinpoint painful muscle knots.

Dr. Patel may also refer you to a specialist who can perform a trigger point release or myofascial release to allow your body to eliminate the painful muscle knot. Both therapies involve soft tissue manipulation, improving blood flow to the trigger point.

If conservative therapies don't work and you're still in pain, Dr. Patel offers trigger point injections for relief. A trigger point injection contains an anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory medication to help the muscle relax.

During a trigger point injection, Dr. Patel cleanses the area around the trigger point. She then pinches the trigger point between her fingers and inserts the needle with the medication.

You may feel an immediate release of pain, although it can take a few days to kick in fully. You can have multiple trigger point injections at one time for long-term pain relief.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Patel for a trigger point injection, call our office in Newark, Delaware, today at 302-355-0900 or request a consultation on the website. 

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