Suffering from TMJ disorder? Trigger point injections could help!

By March 3, 2022 March 6th, 2022 TMJ Disorder
Woman suffering from TMJ disorder

If you struggle with TMJ disorder (TMD), you know that the condition can cause chronic and life-altering discomfort. Dr. Timothy Mickiewicz is an expert in the treatment of dental and facial pain. He offers a full spectrum of care and can combine various therapies to alleviate your jaw pain, stiffness, and other symptoms.

Trigger point injections (TPI) are one of the cutting-edge treatments that we provide at our Sacramento, CA, practice. Typically, we will offer this solution in conjunction with one or more additional treatment options. Contact us today to learn more about trigger point injections and find out if they are right for you.

What are trigger points?

Trigger points are tight areas in your muscles that result from strain or injury. They can cause persistent pain, limit the range of motion in the affected muscles, and cause related symptoms, such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Dr. Mickiewicz can often detect trigger points with a simple manual examination.

Trigger points often cause radiating pain in the affected area, but the trigger point itself may not be particularly sensitive. Additionally, there are two types of trigger points:

  • Active trigger points cause pain even when the muscle is at rest. 
  • Latent trigger points cause discomfort only when the muscle is activated. They can also cause muscle weakness. 

Trigger Points and TMD

If you suffer from TMJ disorder, you may develop trigger points in your masseter muscle, the muscle that connects your lower jaw to your cheek. Pain may radiate across your jaw, but it can also spread to your neck and even your shoulders. 

Trigger points are more likely to develop if your TMD is the result of strain or chronic jaw clenching.

What are trigger point injections?

Prior to the injections, Dr. Mickiewicz will manually locate the tight spots in your muscle. Then he will inject an anesthetic and/or steroid around the trigger point. The medications will release tension and reduce or eliminate pain in the area. One study suggests that moving the muscles immediately after injections helps to increase the effectiveness of TPI.

If he detects several trigger points, Dr. Mickiewicz can perform multiple injections at once. He can also perform treatment more than once, although you should wait several days before receiving another set of injections.

The Side Effects of TPI

Trigger point injections are safe, but side effects are possible. These may include:

  • Swelling and discomfort in the area around the injections
  • Dizziness and/or lightheadedness
  • Light bleeding
  • Dimpling of the skin

Discomfort typically fades within a few days. In the meantime, ice packs, heating pads, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can help to reduce swelling and sensitivity. 

Are trigger point injections effective?

TPI can be quite effective, especially when used in conjunction with other TMD treatments. One study divided TMD patients into two groups. The first group was treated using only oral appliance therapy. The second group received both oral appliances and TPI. At four and twelve weeks, the second group showed greater pain reduction than the patients who were only given oral splints.

Contact Us for an End to Your Chronic Jaw Pain

To learn more about trigger point therapy and our other therapies for TMJ disorder, contact our Sacramento, CA, office today. As an expert in dental and orofacial pain, Dr. Mickiewicz will determine the most effective course of action for you. Schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (916) 469-9178.