It is estimated that more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, according to an Institute of Medicine of the National Academies report. For some, it is tolerable. For others, non-prescription painkillers work to relieve the pain. But for many others, the pain is not within their control, and it affects the way they live their lives. Chronic pain affects one’s sleep, ability to work and overall quality of life.
Pain management is becoming an increasingly active field of medicine, and there are a number of innovative treatments becoming available. Pain relief can come from prescription drugs or from simple changes in lifestyle. Many physicians also recommend physical therapy and stress reduction to reduce discomfort. Another possible treatment for pain relief is trigger point injections.
What are trigger point injections?
In many cases of chronic pain, there is a trigger point, a tender or sore place along the muscle that is the trigger for the pain. For cases of fibromyalgia, myofascial pain (pain from injury) and even chronic tension headaches, an injection of anesthetic and/or cortisoids on those trigger points may bring long-term relief, often for months at a time. For those who have trigger points due to repetitive motion injury, in most cases, one trigger point injection is all that is needed to bring relief (provided that the reason for the injury has been eliminated).
How is the trigger point injection performed?
Normally the procedure is done in the doctor’s office. The patient is asked to sit or lie down while the physician locates the trigger point with manual palpation. Once located, the area is cleaned, and the doctor may numb the area with an anesthetic spray before administering the injection. The entire procedure is quick and relatively painless.
Are there any side effects of the treatment?
There are virtually no side effects -- no more than a normal injection. There may be some pain at the injection site, which is easily treated with over-the-counter painkillers and the application of ice. Other side effects are the same as with any injection and include infection and bleeding. If cortisoids are injected, there is also a chance of a small dent being left in the skin.
Where can I find a doctor who uses this therapy?
Talk to your current physician. He or she may be able to perform it in the office or refer you to a doctor who does. Alternatively, there are a number of pain management clinics in the Des Moines area who perform this treatment. Go online to find one that suits your needs.
Although pain management may help people with chronic discomfort live higher-quality lives, the pain still can take away their ability to earn a good living and live their life to the fullest. If you are in chronic pain due to an injury at work, a car accident or other personal injury, contact an attorney to make sure you are being properly compensated in a workers' comp or personal injury claim. The attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair would be happy to speak with you to discuss your options. Call us at (888) 435-9886 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.