Fibromyalgia, or Fibromyalgia Pain Syndrome, is a chronic and widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder. It is defined as a long-term, body-wide pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons – the soft fibrous tissues in the body. It is typically characterised by widespread aches and pains, restless sleep, awakening feeling tired, fatigue, anxiety, depression and disturbances of bowel function.
Unfortunately the cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown, but there are thought to be multiple factors involved. Scientific research shows that patients who suffer from the pain of fibromyalgia have changes that occur in the peripheral and central nervous systems. These changes make patients hypersensitive and more likely to experience pain. Clinical examination findings reveal multiple trigger points- these are taut bands of muscle which, when pushed (palpated) on examination reproduce the pain. There are various treatment types for these trigger points.
Trigger Point Injections
Trigger point injections are a procedure used to treat painful areas of muscles that contain ‘knots’. These knots are formed when the muscle is unable to relax and can often be felt just under the skin. They irritate the nerves around them and cause pain that is felt in other parts of the body, due to the interconnected nature of the body’s muscle groups. There are a variety of factors that can lead to the formation of trigger points. These include sudden trauma to the muscular or skeletal tissues, repetitive exercise strain, lack of activity and nutritional deficiencies. Accumulated tension from long-term stress is also a predominant cause.
A local anaesthetic and corticosteroid is injected into the identified trigger point, relieving the pain in any muscle group that is effected – particularly those in the arms, legs, lower back and neck. In this way, the chronic pains symptoms of fibromyalgia, that often do not respond to other forms of treatment, can be relieved.
During the procure, the physician will inset a small needle directly into the patient’s trigger point. The injection contains a local anaesthetic and a corticosteroid. The trigger point is made inactive with the injection’s administration, alleviating the pain. These injections only take a few minutes, and patient’s will be free to leave the clinic shortly after their administration. A brief course of injections will usually result in sustained relief from the more painful symptoms of fibromyalgia.