Can a small, painful knot in a muscle cause widespread aching discomfort that keeps you awake and makes it hard to move? Yes. These painful knots are called trigger points. Fortunately, a simple injection can alleviate the discomfort and get you moving again.
Our pain management specialists at the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona, with offices in Tucson, Safford, and Benson, Arizona, are well-known for their commitment to relieving your pain and addressing the underlying source of your discomfort.
Discover how our top-rated experts use trigger point injections to tackle muscle pain at its source.
Why it’s important to identify the source of your pain
You may be familiar with questions like, “Where is your pain? How long have you had the pain? Is it sharp, dull, constant? Is the pain getting worse?” Doctors use this information to help identify the source of your pain. While the result is the same – discomfort that can make it hard to carry out your daily activities – the origin of your pain affects how we treat it.
Arthritic pain, for instance, originates in a joint and is often related to degenerative changes that cause wear and tear of the cartilage and other soft tissue structures within the joint. This pain usually responds to therapies that help strengthen and preserve the affected joint(s).
On the other hand, muscle pain often originates from a knotted, tender area within the muscle that’s called a trigger point. This type of pain is often related to activities/behaviors such as:
- Repetitive muscle movements at work or during sports activities or hobbies like gardening
- Heavy lifting at the gym, work, or around the house
- Poor posture, which strains and stresses muscles
Interestingly, worry and stress that causes persistent muscular tension in your neck, back, shoulders, etc. can lead to trigger point pain. Prolonged inactivity and fibromyalgia can also create painful trigger points.
Characteristics of trigger point pain
Trigger point pain is often described as deep, aching, muscular pain that persists or worsens beyond soreness. You may notice a small tender knot in the affected muscle that can cause significant pain when pressed.
Because of the way nerves respond to discomfort, the pain can travel or “radiate” away from the trigger point. A trigger point in your upper back, for instance, can cause pain in your shoulder or arm.
How do trigger point injections help?
Trigger point injections typically contain a fast-acting pain reliever such as lidocaine that relaxes the muscular knot. Your pain management specialist may also include a steroid in the injectable mixture to reduce the inflammation and swelling associated with painful trigger points.
At the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona, we also work to identify the underlying cause of your symptoms. We may recommend changes in lifting techniques, physical therapy to strengthen muscles, and other measures that help decrease your risk of developing trigger points.
Schedule a visit at the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona today. We provide effective pain management that’s designed to relieve your symptoms and treat the underlying source of your pain.