Board Certified, New York City Based, Osteopath Specializing in Spine, Pain and Sports Medicine
Trigger Point Injections
Ultrasound-guided trigger point injections can be a potential treatment path for many locations of pain throughout the body. The use of Ultrasound is very common for getting a better “picture” of what’s going on inside the body. It is completely noninvasive and helps guide the injections, which are minimally invasive, that provide to relief to trigger points throughout the body.
If you are treated with trigger point injections the doctors at Network Spine walk you through the whole process. With the mobile monitor, you will be able to review the targetted area with the doctor in real time. The goal is to increase blood flow which returns healthy levels of oxygen to the area that is causing you pain.
What Is A Trigger Point?
Trigger points are “hyperirritable foci” within muscle and fascia that when touched may be abnormally tender and “tight”. They may refer pain to other parts of the body. You can often use your fingers to feel these buildups underneath the skin. Trigger points can restrict movement and strength by not allowing the muscle to contract and relax. There are many reasons why and how a trigger point can form including:
- Muscle Overload
- Acute trauma
- Series of minor injuries
The exact location a trigger point is “felt” externally and may not be the location the pain is felt. This is called referred pain and is often characteristic of trigger points.
How Does A Trigger Point Injection Work?
The doctors at Network Spine, lead by Yasha Magyar, Do, perform external ultrasound guided trigger point injections. The injections are done in the office and most often handled during a normal consultation appointment length.
Trigger point injections are able to inactivate the hyperirritable foci within muscle and fascia. This is turn will reduce pain and improve movement. The injections are a large part of the minimally invasive treatment plans developed at Network Spine. They are commonly done to treat neck pain, shoulder pain, and back pain. But ultimately can help pain throughout the body because trigger points can form almost anywhere.
What To Expect With Trigger Point Injections
The injection or injections are done right in our office and the whole treatment is usually only a few minutes. Depending on the level and region affected a wide area of pain can be treated in one appointment. What happens almost immediately and extended well past the appointment is decreased pain and improved movement.
Trigger Point Injection Follow Up
After your injection or injections, a follow up evaluation should be scheduled in 1-2 weeks. To optimize your response, gentle range of motion exercises and stretches should be performed. After your injection(s) you may feel sore for a few days so make sure to ice the treated area. The trigger point injections may be repeated weekly for added efficacy if symptoms persist.
Do We Go Inside With The Ultrasound Probe?
No, the handheld piece of the ultrasound is only placed on the body externally. It helps provide an internal “picture” of the trigger point area. The injection area will be cleaned and made sterile along with a thin layer of gel that is applied to the probe or skin.
Why Do We Use Ultrasound Guidance?
For every patient, we spend a large amount of time understanding your entire medical history and perform a thorough physical examination. This not only helps identifying the pain it provides a strong visual of a functional limitation, i.e. how far you can turn your head or raise your arm. This provides a baseline that you may experience improvements in immediately.
However, the ultrasound provides guidance while performing the injections. Even with the ultrasound guidance, the doctor is still performing a physical examination throughout the treatment. The doctor can feel the muscle relax and spasm externally. Ultrasound imaging helps the doctor during procedures to locate where our needle is in relationship to the nerves, arteries, and muscles. There are numerous studies that attribute to a reduction in complications and an increase in treatment efficacy while using an ultrasound.
Which Trigger Point Injections Do You Use The Ultrasound For?
Often times trigger point injections can be done “blind” without ultrasound, however, the accuracy of these injections decreases when they are done without ultrasound guidance. It is important to do all the trigger point injections with ultrasound guidance “live” to ensure we are reaching the correct muscle in the pain location.
What Are The Risks And Benefits?
Ultrasound imaging has been used for decades in numerous medical applications with a stellar safety record. It is based on non-ionizing radiation, so it does not have the same risks as X-rays or other types of imaging systems that use ionizing radiation.
What Are The Costs For A Trigger Point Injection?
Depending on insurance coverage this may be covered by your plan. We are committed to providing extraordinary care that is still affordable. Payments from most insurance plans are accepted as a nonpar provider (i.e. we accept out of network benefits). If health insurance coverage is not accepted or with high deductible plans, alternative payment arrangements can be made depending on the specific circumstances.