Shoulder pain refers to any form of pain felt in the shoulder or around the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the human body, including four tendons that have the function of holding the muscle to the bone. Any swelling, inflammation, tearing or bony changes around the tendons in the shoulder causes pain when a person tries to move the arm upwards, backwards, straight out or in front.
Common causes include bursitis, rotator cuff tendonitis and tears or ruptures to any of the four tendons. Shoulder instability and dislocation is very common, leading to a host of conditions in this complex area of the body.
A trigger point is the specific area in the muscle that produces pain, or ‘triggers’ it. They’re also commonly referred to as ‘knots’ in the muscle and are usually caused by an injury or a degenerative condition.
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 doctor will insert 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 injections administration, alleviating the pain. These injections only take a few minutes and patients will be free to leave the clinic shortly after their administration. A brief course of injections will usually result in sustained relief from shoulder pain.