If you’re dealing with chronic pain, trigger point therapy might be your solution. This alternative therapy finds and releasing the trigger points that cause pain. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of trigger point therapy.
Uses for Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger point therapy can treat many chronic pain issues. Issues like headaches, low back pain, and temporomandibular joint pain. Trigger point therapy can treat carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, migraines, tinnitus, sports injuries, and sciatica.
How Are Trigger Point Injections Performed?
During a trigger point therapy, a small needle goes into the specific area of pain on the trigger point in a muscle. This injection usually includes a local anesthetic or a steroid medication.
This procedure can take place at a doctor’s office without sedation. The patient is either lying down or sitting, as the doctor finds the painful areas in the muscle. Once the doctor finds the trigger points a small needle gets injected into these areas.
The number of trigger points you have will determine if you need more than one injection.
How Do Trigger Point Injections Work
Trigger injections have anesthetic medication. This gets injected into the muscle blocking pain receptors.
If you are using a steroid medication, then there is fewer inflammations, swelling, and pain.
A needle without medication can also be beneficial. Once the needle separates, it lengthens and relaxes the muscle fiber, giving it even more pain relief. This approach is “needling” and is for patients who are allergic to the anesthetic medication.
Trigger Point Therapy vs. Traditional Acupuncture
Another common type of trigger point therapy is dry needling, which is when a needle without any medication or injection, goes into trigger points.
Dry needling isn’t acupuncture, which is a type of Chinese medicine that uses needles to stimulate points that connect the pathways that have vital energy or chi throughout the body.
There is some overlap between trigger point sites and acupuncture point sites, but unlike acupuncture, trigger point therapy isn’t focused on improving the flow of chi. While acupuncture treats a wide range of health problems, trigger point therapy musculoskeletal disorders.
What Can Trigger Point Therapy Treat?
As mentioned earlier, there is a wide range of ailments that trigger point therapy can help treat. Here’s a closer look at how exactly.
When used with other therapies, dry needling can help treat people with chronic lower back pain. According to a 2005 research review from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Most of the trials were of poor quality. Meaning there needs to be more research to conclude how effective dry needling is to treat lower back pain.
There’s been research to support that trigger point therapy can help rid tension in headaches, according to a 2012 report from Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. But again, there is a lack of clinical trials to support this.
Trigger point therapy can reduce Plantar heel pain. According to a small study published in a 2011 Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy.
In this study, 60 people with plantar heel put into two groups. One group performed stretching exercises, while the other group did trigger point therapy and stretching.
After a month, the group who did trigger point therapy had more improvement and a greater decrease in pain.
There’s been evidence that trigger point therapy can treat some symptoms connected with Parkinson’s disease, according to a 2006 study in Movement Disorders. In this study, 36 people who had Parkinson’s disease received either music based relaxation therapy or trigger point therapy.
Those who got trigger point therapy had better function and more improvement.
How to Use Trigger Point Therapy
If you want to try Trigger Point Therapy, you will want to consult with your doctor to find the right qualified practitioner. Since there isn’t a ton of research, it’s too soon to say that trigger point therapy is the best treatment for any condition.
You also should know that self-treating for a condition instead of getting standard care could have serious consequences. If you are considering using trigger point therapy, make sure you consult with a qualified and trusted physician first.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
Trigger point injects are safe to perform on an outpatient basis. This procedure usually takes about 15 minutes which includes the preparation time, and short recovery time.
How Often Should I Get This Procedure?
At first, you’ll want these injections every one or two weeks for about several weeks. You’ll also want to limit yourself to one session every two months, especially if they for a maintenance treatment.
What Are the Expected Results?
Trigger point injections are very safe, and you may feel some tenderness at the injection point, especially once the local anesthetic wears off. It might take a couple of days for the medicine’s anti-inflammatory action to work.
The biggest benefit of trigger point injections is it loosens up muscle groups which improve your progress in a physical rehabilitation program.
For longer-lasting benefits, you might want to try advanced regenerative procedures like prolotherapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. These techniques help with healing.
For more information on trigger point therapy and other similar procedures, check out this site.
Are Trigger Point Injections Safe?
The more common side effect from these injections is temporary numbness and pain at the injection site. Infection and bleeding can occur at the point of injection, but you can avoid this if you clean the site of the injection and apply pressure to the site after injections.
You also might experience a feeling of light-headedness after an injection. If using steroids, you may experience a loss of hair, fatty tissue accumulation or loss of muscle thickness at the point of injection.
Try Trigger Point Injections Today
If you want to try trigger point therapy, consult with your doctor to find a qualified practitioner. Keep in mind, since there isn’t a lot of research, it’s too soon to recommend that this therapy is right for any condition. Also, know that self-treating a condition and forgoing standard care could have serious consequences.
If you want to use trigger point therapy, be sure you talk with your doctor first.