What are trigger point injections?
A trigger point injection (TPI) is a pain treatment option for patients suffering severe and/or chronic muscle pain. These injections target “trigger points,” which are knots that occur in injured and/or overworked muscles. Trigger points can occur in just about any area of the body; however, trigger point pain can radiate out to distant points. A trigger point injection, which may contain anesthetics, steroids, or nothing at all (“dry needling”), can help treat these muscle pains.
What kind of pain does a trigger point injection treat?
The most commonly treated regions are muscle groups of the arms, legs, neck, and lower back. Trigger point injections may also be used to treat tension headaches and fibromyalgia.
How is a trigger point injection performed?
A trigger point injection is a relatively painless procedure that takes just a few minutes to complete. In fact, you can receive a TPI in your pain management specialist’s office. First, the physician will locate the trigger point by gently squeezing the skin to find the taut “ball” of muscle or fascia. Once the trigger point is located, the skin is cleansed and a topical anesthetic is given to minimize the discomfort of the injection. The needle is then inserted into the trigger point, and anesthetic (sometimes combined with a corticosteroid) is injected. The anesthetic causes the trigger point to relax. A bandage is placed over the injection site, and – after you’ve been monitored for an allergic reaction – you are free to return to work or home.
How effective are trigger point injections for treating muscle pain?
Depending on the cause of your trigger point, a TPI may be a permanent solution or it may just offer pain relief for several weeks or months. Talk to your pain management specialist to learn more about how effective a trigger point injection could be for you.
What risks are associated with trigger point injections?
There are few significant risks associated with trigger point injections. However, as with any injection treatment method, there are always the potential risks of bleeding, infection, worsened pain, and allergic reaction. In extremely rare cases, nerve damage may occur.
Is a trigger point injection right for my muscle pain?
Prior to having an injection, your physician may recommend that you see a physical therapist for assistance in working out your trigger point. If, however, physical therapy is not successful, then a trigger point injection may be right for you. For more information about trigger point injections – or to schedule an appointment with a pain management specialist – contact Pain Management Associates at Hedley Orthopaedic Institute today. Pain management specialist is available in Mesa, AZ.