Candidates for these injections are persons who have experienced chronic or protracted pain. The pain may have resulted from physical trauma or a post-surgical condition. A physician, specially trained in the application of pain therapy, will be able to identify specific points in your musculature that activate or “trigger” the painful sensations you’re experiencing. Trigger point injections are performed to reduce the spasm of involved muscles and/or interfere with the transmission of pain. The muscle is injected with a local anesthetic. This “numbs” the muscle. The action caused by the injection itself also serves to help the muscle relax.
Trigger point injections are almost always intended to be accompanied by physical therapy. The therapist is able to elongate the involved muscle without as much pain after the injection.
What to Expect:
Upon arriving at the clinic, a nurse will interview you and record your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. The nurse will ask you to list your current medications. It is of special importance to know if you are allergic to any medications. The nurse will also want to know if you’ve been taking any anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners), including aspirin.
On your first appointment with Dr Lutz, you will be asked to identify the affected areas, so they may be examined and marked. Depending upon the location of your trigger points, you may not need to disrobe.
After the doctor examines you and identifies your “trigger points”, he will then prepare and inject the trigger points with a local anesthetic. This may be done in either sitting or lying position. A nurse will be available should you feel faint or light-headed.
You will be asked to remain under observation for 10 to 20 minutes after your injection. During this time, surgery center staff will schedule your next appointment. If you have not previously arranged a physical therapy appointment, Dr. Lutz will recommend a therapist in an area convenient for you. You should see a therapist within 6 hours for stretching and education of proper home stretching of the injected muscles. You will also be instructed to do stretches that you know or are shown by a staff member. The therapist may also use Ultrasound or heat if the injected site swells.
You may be scheduled for a series of trigger point injections, usually at two-week intervals. At each session, you might receive from one to six injections, depending upon the location and severity of your symptoms.
Post Injection Activity:
The injected muscles should be stretched every 30 minutes for the first 6-8 hours after the injection. Over the next 24 hours you should stretch every 1-2 hours. You may find that a hot shower or applied heat will decrease stiffness. When stretching, you should work through the stiffness, however, do not continue if stretching produces sharp pain.
All patients who receive trigger point injection respond differently. The goal is to “break the cycle of pain” that has inhibited the return to normal daily activities.
Questions? If you have questions regarding the information you have read here, ask our staff.
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