Chris Jeffrey Acupuncture
& Wellness Clinic
Trigger Point Injection Therapy (TPI)
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Trigger point injection therapy was founded by Dr. Janet Travell in the mid 1900's. Dr. Travell helped develop new anesthetic techniques for treating painful muscle spasm by employing local procaine injection and vapocoolant sprays such as ethyl chloride (used widely in sports medicine today.) It was this pioneering expertise that changed her life in more ways than one. In 1955 she was called upon by the orthopedic surgeon of Senator John F. Kennedy, who had failed to recover from major back surgeries related to injuries he suffered in World War II. Dr. Travell was able to locate muscular sources for his chronic pain, and injected low-level procaine directly into the Senator's lumbar muscles, which proved effective. When John Kennedy was elected President in 1960, he appointed Dr. Travell to the post of Personal Physician to the President, making her the first woman to hold the position.
What are Trigger Points
Trigger points are focal areas of spasm and inflammation in skeletal muscle. The rhomboid and trapezius back muscles, located in the upper back and shoulder areas, are a common site of trigger points. In addition to the upper spine, trigger points can also occur in the low back or less commonly in the extremities.
Often there is a palpable nodule in the muscle where the trigger point is located. The area is tender, and frequently when pushed, pain radiates from the trigger point itself to an area around the trigger point or cause referred pain to other areas. Trigger points commonly accompany chronic musculoskeletal disorders such as fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, neck pain, and low back pain. They may also occur with tension headache and temporomandibular pain. Acute trauma or repetitive minor injury can lead to the development of trigger points.
A thin acupuncture needle is inserted into the muscle to release the knot. This causes a large or small spasm which may cause some discomfort and/or relief.
This procedure is considered very safe and has few side effects. In some cases, the patient may feel sore around the injection site for up to two days following the procedure, but heat, gentle massage, stretching and ice usually relieve symptoms. Normal activities may be resumed immediately after the treatment. Trigger point injections not only relieve pain, but also loosen the muscles that are responsible for the pain to ultimately help with the rehabilitation process.