Many people suffering from neck pain turn to trigger point injection (TPI) for relief. TPI is a common, well-accepted treatment option for chronic neck pain. Dr. Jason Gruss, FAAPM&R, explains how TPI can be used to provide relief to people with chronic neck pain.
Often people who suffer from chronic neck pain find that the cause of the pain is a trigger point. To make matters worse, trigger points within muscles of the head, neck and shoulders can cause headache in themselves, which is often called myofascial pain. They can develop as a result of trauma, injury, inflammation and other conditions. Furthermore, trigger points can be present in people with migraine, tension-type and other headache disorders that can worsen or perpetuate the headache condition.
TRIGGER POINT INJECTION PROVIDES NECK PAIN RELIEF
Trigger point injection, or TPI, can be quite helpful for immediate relief for severe pain in people with neck pain, an individual headache or migraine attack. They also provide relief for symptomatic myofascial trigger points – hard, palpable, localized spots within taut bands of skeletal muscle that are painful when pressed.
When a patient has a painful trigger point, TPI is used. This is particularly true when pain radiates from it to the surrounding area. TPI is usually performed in the office of the health care professional. The provider locates the trigger point by pressing the site. In some instances, ultrasound can also be used to locate the trigger point. In a TPI procedure, a medication such as a local anesthetic is injected into the painful muscle “trigger point” to provide relief.
The anesthetic medication injected into the muscle blocks pain receptors within the surrounding nerves. As a result, pain signals sent to the brain are reduced. When steroid medication is used in the TPI, it reduces the inflammation and swelling of tissues that press on the nearby nerves and can result in reduced pain.
HOW QUICKLY DOES A TRIGGER POINT INJECTION WORK?
At best, a trigger point resolves after one injection. Although when the pain is caused by a chronic or recurring condition they can often return due to the underlying problem. The method is thought to work by disrupting the trigger points that results in relaxation and extension of the affected muscle fiber.
Trigger point injections when considered medically necessary are typically covered by health insurance. For more information about whether TPI is right for your condition, discuss the procedure with your health care professional.
Since 1981, First Health Associates has been providing exceptional health care to residents of Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove, Rolling Meadows, Palatine, Elk Grove and Des Plaines. First Health is an integrative medicine practice that offers: Medical Care; Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine; and Chiropractic Care.
Jason Gruss, MD, FAAPM&R, is the director of First Health Associates Physical Medicine Department.Leave a reply →