Understanding Trigger Point Therapy

Understanding Trigger Point Therapy

Do you have painful muscle knots? Are they affecting your range of motion? Those muscle knots are known as trigger points and are common in people with chronic musculoskeletal pain. 

You may not give much thought to those tight bands of tissue, but trigger point therapy may relieve the tension and the related pain, helping you feel better. 

At Legacy Pain and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Trace Alexander specializes in pain management, taking a multimodal approach that focuses on the root cause of your pain. Those trigger points may be the source of your chronic tension headaches, neck pain, or low back pain. 

Here, we want to talk about trigger point therapy and how it can help you get pain relief.

About trigger points

Tight, tense muscles are a common cause of neck and back pain. When rubbing your sore muscles, you may even feel the muscle knot causing your pain.

Trigger points are a lot like muscle knots. However, they may cause more than just localized pain. Trigger points, like those muscle knots, develop from a direct injury to the muscle or from overuse. These injuries create sensitive areas of tight muscle tissue — trigger points — which may be acute or latent.

Acute trigger point

Acute trigger points are a lot like muscle knots, causing general aches and pains when you’re at rest. The pain may worsen when you press on the tight band of tissue, or you may feel the pain in another area of your body, which is called referred pain. 

It’s not unusual for trigger points to cause pain in areas of the body that seem completely unrelated to your trigger points. 

Latent trigger point

You may not feel pain with a latent trigger point. However, these tight bands of tissue may affect mobility and movement or cause muscle weakness.

Though trigger points are a type of pain condition, they may trigger tension headaches, low back pain, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. Trigger points may also develop from stress and tension related to some other chronic pain condition. 

No matter the cause, trigger point therapy is one of the primary treatments. 

Trigger point therapy

Trigger point therapy focuses on relaxing your tight muscle knot, easing pain and improving mobility. 

Trigger point therapy includes a combination of trigger point injections and physical therapy.

Trigger point injections

Trigger point injections aim to break up your trigger point. For this therapy, we inject a corticosteroid and local anesthetic into your trigger point. The needle itself helps break up the tight tissue, while the corticosteroid reduces inflammation and the anesthetic alleviates pain.

In some cases, we may use a dry needle for trigger point injections. For this treatment we only insert the needle; there’s no injection of medication. 

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is also an important part of trigger point therapy. We use the needle to loosen up the trigger point, but you need to stretch the muscle to keep it from tightening up again. Exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscle also help. 

Other trigger point treatments

When it comes to pain, we take a multimodal approach. Our focus may be on treating your trigger point to ease pain, but we also want to prevent future problems.

In addition to trigger point therapy, we may also recommend chiropractic care to improve spine alignment and posture as well as massage therapy to help you relax. Acupuncture may also benefit your pain condition by reducing stress and releasing your body’s natural pain killers. 

Whether acute or chronic, trigger points cause pain that may affect sleep and mobility. But trigger point therapy relieves your pain and may prevent a recurrence. 

Medications only mask your pain symptoms. To get long-term relief from your trigger points, make an appointment today by calling the office most convenient to you — in Plano or Addison, Texas — or clicking the “book online” button.

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