Submitted by Vitality Physical Medicine
Do you have pain symptoms that include:
- Aching, throbbing, tight, or stiff muscle pain?
- Trigger points (small knots in your muscles that hurt when they are touched)
- Sore, tender muscles
- Weak muscles
- Reduced range of motion
You may be experiencing myofascial pain. This type of pain is very common in the muscles of the neck, shoulders, back, and hips.
Many individuals experience myofascial pain at some point in their life. It can lead to discomfort, reduced mobility, and decreased quality of life. There are several ways to manage myofascial pain, including trigger point injections, osteopathic manipulation treatment (OMT), and compounded topical pain medications.
Myofascial Pain: What Is It?
Myofascial pain syndrome involves the development of sensitive points in your muscles known as trigger points. These trigger points can cause pain locally or refer it to other areas in the body. The pain often presents as a persistent, deep ache and may be accompanied by muscle stiffness. Myofascial pain can result from various factors, including muscle overuse, trauma, or stress.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Effective treatment begins with a proper diagnosis. Your physician may start by conducting a thorough examination, including physical assessments, and possibly testing such as imaging or electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS). EMG is usually normal in myofascial pain, but can identify other serious conditions such as neuropathy or myopathy.
Trigger Point Injections: A Solution for Myofascial Pain
Trigger point injections are a minimally invasive and effective method for treating myofascial pain. They involve the insertion of a small needle into the trigger point to deliver a mixture of anesthetic and sometimes a corticosteroid. This helps in several ways:
- Pain Relief: The anesthetic provides immediate pain relief by numbing the trigger point and the surrounding muscle.
- Reducing Inflammation: Corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation in the area
- Improved Muscle Function: Trigger point injections can relax the tight muscles, improving mobility and flexibility.
The procedure is relatively quick, often taking just a few minutes. Patients can experience a mild, temporary discomfort from the needle during the injection. For most patients the discomfort is minimal but the benefits in terms of pain relief and improved muscle function are much longer lasting.
Aftercare and Recovery
Following trigger point injections, it’s essential to engage in light activities and exercises to prevent muscle stiffness. You may notice a significant reduction in pain within a few days. The duration of pain relief can vary from patient to patient, but many individuals experience significant relief for several weeks or even months.
Sometimes osteopathic manipulation treatment (OMT) or physical therapy will be recommended as a complementary treatment to your trigger point injection. Some patients also benefit from the prescription of topical compounded pain medications.
Myofascial pain can be a challenging condition to live with, but it doesn’t have to be a long-term struggle. If you or a loved one is dealing with myofascial pain, schedule an appointment with Dr. Joseph Brooks, DO at Vitality Physical Medicine to have your pain assessed and develop a treatment plan that is right for you.
To schedule, call 563-424-6400 or schedule online through our website at www.VitalityPhysicalMedicine.com.