05 Oct Ultrasound-guided interventional procedures for chronic pain patients
Ultrasound in medicine is used during many different cases. This device not only makes it possible to evaluate the condition of the internal organs. Ultrasound-guided interventional procedures for chronic pain patients are well known in pain management for years. Ultrasound is a safe, non-invasive technology that helps locate the painful sites.
TRIGGER POINTS INJECTIONS
The term “trigger point” is heard quite often. However, usually, patients do not fully understand what it is, what treatment should be given in his or her case and which specialist should a person apply to.
It’s a deep, dull, aching pain that is affected even more by muscle tension or even psychological stress. It usually occurs due to trauma or permanent muscle tension. Myofascial trigger points (painful muscle points) cause headaches, the pain in the neck, arm, hand and other parts of the body.
A trigger point occurs when the muscle contracts and cannot relax. As a result, blood circulation may be disturbed and that muscle site becomes painful. The most common causes of these painful sites are irregular posture, recurrent psychological stress, joint function abnormalities, lack of sleep, lack of vitamins, muscle overload, severe trauma, or even minor untreated injuries. Also, myofascial trigger points are often associated with chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders.
Although one trigger point may cause pain, however, there are often several trigger points that cause pain in the whole area. For their treatment, injections that are called blocks are used. During this procedure, a mixture of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs is injected into painful muscles.
In some cases, painful muscle points may sensitize nerve endings that give the impression that the pain is felt in another part of the body. For this reason, before injecting the pain physician may determine the exact source of the pain location under the ultrasound guide. This method helps to inject the necessary medications into the trigger point and to immediately relax and eliminate pain in many cases.
WHAT CAN THE PATIENT EXPECT DURING THE PROCEDURE?
Trigger point injections usually take only a few minutes. If a person suffers from pain at several muscle points, multiple injections can be made during one visit. After the injection, the blood circulation normalizes and then the oxygen level in painful muscles is balanced.
Ultrasound-guided interventional procedures are usually used to relieve pain in the head, spine, back (chest and waist), lower and upper limbs, such as the shoulder, areas. During the procedures the ultrasound is used to help to determine exactly where the needle should be inserted in order to prevent damage to the nerves, arteries or muscles. This increases the effectiveness of the injection and reduces the chance of complications. In addition, the procedure becomes shorter. A shorter procedure means that the doctor may pay more time and attention to the patient’s clinical case, the procedure itself and prepare for possible further treatment.
However, please note that the ultrasound device is not necessary in all cases. In some cases, a skilled specialist can perform the procedure without causing discomfort to the patient without ultrasound.
Injections to trigger points are quite safe. However, there may be some complications, such as bruises, bleeding, hematoma, infection, and nerve damage.
Pneumothorax may occur depending on the injection site, but the risk can be reduced by performing the procedure under ultrasound guidance.
However, it is important to emphasize that the success of the procedure depends on the specialist who performs it. To work with an ultrasound a person needs experience and practice.
WHAT SHOULD THE PATIENT DO AFTER THE PROCEDURE?
The patient may return to the normal rhythm of life after the procedure, but it is advisable to avoid lifting heavy items for at least one to two days. Also, patients should contact a physical therapist within the next 7 days. During physical therapy sessions, the specialist will evaluate the patient’s condition and assign the most appropriate exercises. He/she will show you how to do it properly or will assign a different physical therapy. It is needed in order to ensure proper muscle mobility and to reduce the risk of new trigger points emergence.
Clinic AGATAS pain physicians specialize in the treatment of chronic and acute pain. Consulting professionals is the first step toward effective pain treatment!