Trigger Point & Manual Therapy Can Melt The Muscle Knots Immediately
Learn more about the synergy of a broad management approach
Have you ever had a goal but there were several paths to reaching that goal? Some will take just one path and hope to reach the top that way. Maybe there's a struggle, a challenge, or a setback along the way and they just never seem to get there. Sometimes, they just give up and decide it's unattainable.
Others might recall that there are actually several paths so they try a different route. Some will get there eventually. Some will run into the same fate and, once again, give up in despair and disappointment.
But what if you could combine all paths into one big highway and drive the car right to the destination, park it in the driveway, and walk in, sit on the couch, turn on the TV, and kick your feet up on the coffee table?
How does this have anything to do with our topic? We know that the American College of Physicians, the world's largest medical group, recommends a BROAD TREATMENT APPROACH to treat pain. That means there are many paths that can be taken to treat pain and it's usually not JUST ONE SINGLE route to being pain-free. It's several paths taken all at the same time.
That means that treatment should not just be medicine. Not just exercise. Not just a chiropractor. Not just massage, acupuncture, spinal decompression, and on and on. It means a combination of any or all of them working in synergy to reach the eventual goal of getting a patient out of pain as quickly and as inexpensively as possible.
That brings us to the topic at hand. Combining manual therapy and trigger point therapy.
- Manual therapy can be chiropractic, physical therapy and exercise, massage, soft tissue stretching, and working to increase range of motion and stability
- Trigger point therapy is using medicine to treat the knots in the muscles
Most patients are familiar with manual therapy so let's address trigger point therapy specifically. Many times those with persistent pain require medical treatment. The first thing to know is that it does not hurt at all! That is the first question everyone wants to know and I am happy to share with you that, having used trigger point therapy myself, it does not hurt. At least it did not hurt me at all.
Now that we have addressed the elephant in the room, let's cover the specifics of what trigger point therapy is. According to the Cleveland Clinic, trigger points are the 'knots' in a muscle that form when the muscle can't relax. Muscle knots are essentially highly sensitive bundles of fibers in tight bands of muscle. You can usually feel these knots yourself when rubbing your muscles. They are typically sore and tender to the touch. Trigger points can even irritate the nerves near them causing referred pain so that a patient feels the pain in another part of the body. They go on to say that a trigger point injection can help soothe muscle pain, especially in the arms, legs, lower back, and neck. It can also be used to treat fibromyalgia, tension headaches, and myofascial pain.
Here is what to expect, a healthcare provider locates the trigger points and then marks them. You can have several trigger point injections in one sitting if appropriate. Then, the provider will spray numbing spray on the area so that there is little to no discomfort with the injection. Then the provider uses a small needle to inject a solution of lidocaine into the trigger point. And that's it! Lidocaine blocks the pain receptors in the muscles. With most, the trigger point is simply made inactive and the pain can be alleviated. Some patients may actually require a brief course of treatment to achieve sustained relief from the trigger points.
What causes a trigger point?
- According to WebMD, possible causes of myofascial trigger points can include:
- Injury or trauma to the muscle
- Repetitive motions such as sitting in the same position daily or performing the same motions at work day after day
- Poor sustained postures such as having a desk job or younger patients being on their electronic devices for extended periods of time
- Psychological stress - current leaders and experts agree that for some patients, trigger points begin in the brain rather than the muscle itself.
WebMD says that in addition to referred pain, a person with myofascial pain may experience:
- Pain in specific parts of a muscle
- Pain that intensifies when the person moves or stretches the affected muscle
- Muscle knots that the person can feel by touch
- Muscle stiffness or weakness, or
- A limited range of motion
Are there any risks to trigger point therapy?
The real risk of any complication from something as simple as a trigger point injection is very low. There is very uncommon to experience bleeding or infection. Although, a few may experience some slight soreness or numbness at the site of treatment.
Trigger point injections can be used for anyone and everyone with muscle knots but are commonly used for patients suffering from maladies like:
- Tension-type headaches
- Chronic pain
- Pain that has failed to respond to other treatments
- Myofascial pain
Do Trigger Point Injections work?
Trigger point injections can offer immediate pain relief and improved flexibility and range of motion for patients suffering from chronic pain. Everyone is different, all conditions are different, and all patients respond to treatment differently. For that reason, what works for many, may not work for everyone. Some have immediate pain relief that never returns. Some require a brief series of injections over a 2-3 week period. Some only get relief for a few hours. Although that is less common.
In summary, trigger point injections can be a safe and highly effective addition to our patients' treatment regimen here at Creek Stone Integrated Medical. By having so many paths to being pain-free under one roof here, we are more capable of creating that huge highway leading to pain resolution for our patients.
If we can help you, call us at 806-355-3000, and let's get you on our schedule.
Dr. Jeff Williams, DC, FIANM is double Board Certified as a Fellow in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Orthopedics as well as a Fellow in Chiropractic Forensics, and chiropractor in Amarillo, TX. As an Amarillo chiropractor, Dr. Williams treats chronic pain, disc pain, low back pain, neck pain, whiplash injuries, and more. Dr. Williams is also the host of The Chiropractic Forward Podcast (https://www.chiropracticforward.com). Through the podcast, Dr. Williams teaches fellow chiropractors and advocates weekly for evidence-based, patient-centered practice through current and relevant research. If you have any questions for Dr. Williams, feel free to email at [email protected] Learn more about Dr. Williams and his practice at https://www.amarillochiropractor.com.
Dr. Williams was voted Best Chiropractor In Amarillo in the Best of Amarillo 2020. Dr. Williams's full-time Amarillo chiropractic practice is Creek Stone Integrated Care at 3501 SW 45th St., Ste. T, Amarillo, TX 79109. If you are searching for a chiropractor near me, Dr. Williams is your Amarillo Chiropractor.
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