A trigger point is a tight band of muscle that causes pain during activity and/or at rest. Tightness is sometimes described as a knot in the muscle, which often can be felt as a lump beneath the skin. Symptoms of a trigger point may include:
- Local tenderness (i.e., neck, shoulder, low back)
- Local muscle twitching
- Reduced range of motion
- One or more areas of muscle tightness
- Trigger points can affect any muscle in the body.
- Referred pain. For example, if you have a trigger point in your neck, pain may be referred to your upper shoulder(s) or arms.
The following list is not complete, but will give you an idea of how a muscular trigger point may develop.
- Repetitive stress/movement of a particular muscle or group of muscles
- Cradling a telephone receiver between your chin and shoulder
- Bending forward for a prolonged period of time (muscle stress)
- Poor back support while seated.
- Lifting something that is too heavy and/or poor body mechanics.
Trigger point injection
At Rehabilitation Medicine Center of New York, we insert a small needle into the trigger point and inject a local anesthetic. The trigger point injection may include a corticosteroid (powerful anti-inflammatory drug). The injection only takes a few minutes, and more than one trigger point can be treated at the same time.
Your treatment plan may include physical therapy and guidance about how to prevent future trigger points from developing.