The upsides to an active lifestyle are almost too numerous to count, but there are also downsides, such as sports injuries. Your musculoskeletal system is not only complex, but intertwined in such a way that a problem in one area can have a cascading effect, which is certainly the case when a trigger point forms.
Our pain management and sports medicine specialists at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management want to do everything in their power to help our patients stay active. As part of our extensive suite of treatments, we offer trigger point injections, which can relieve your painful muscle tension in mere minutes.
Defining a trigger point
A trigger point is an area of muscle or fascia (the tissue that surrounds your muscles) that becomes irritated and forms a knot. This type of extreme tension can not only create discomfort in the immediate area, but also lead to radiating tension as the knot pulls on your surrounding muscles.
Trigger points typically form as a result of direct trauma to the tissue or on the heels of repetitive stresses. In either case, your muscle fibers break down and often become hyperirritable, which is your body’s way of protecting itself.
In many people, once trigger points form, they’re more prone to flaring when they’re stressed, and it often doesn’t take a lot to activate them, which is why the description “trigger” is so apt.
Sports injuries and trigger points
While trigger points typically develop when you stress your skeletal muscles, they can also form when you stress or injure other connective tissues, such as your ligaments or tendons. For example, if you have a repetitive stress injury like tennis elbow, your tendon develops tiny tears and becomes inflamed. To compensate for the damage, the surrounding muscles jump into action to pick up the slack, and then they become irritated in turn, which can lead to trigger points.
As well, if you had a sports injury that required surgery, such as a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), scar tissue can form, which may predispose you to developing trigger points.
Lastly, many athletes experience back pain due to spasms, especially in their lower backs, which can be very painful.
Trigger point injections to the rescue
With our trigger point injections, we target the muscle knot directly with a mixture of saline, a local anesthetic, and a steroid. The local anesthetic goes to work immediately to quiet the muscle and relieve the pain. We often add a steroid component to address any inflammation, which also helps with pain relief.
While the ingredients of the trigger point injection are effective, the technique itself is often enough to release the knot. The simple act of introducing a needle into your trigger point is often enough to get it to relax and release tension.
If you’re plagued by overactive trigger points that are hampering your ability to remain active, contact one of our two offices in Staten Island or Hartsdale, New York, to set up your trigger point injections.