A trigger point is an area of muscle that has superfluous soreness and sensitivity. It might feel like a “knot” in your muscles but it’s actually the connective tissues in your muscle which have become injured through trauma or repetitive use. They often radiate to other nearby areas on the body and cause pain. This is referred to as myofascial pain. For example, a trigger point near your elbow may actually cause you pain down the length of your forearm, wrist, and thumb, and a trigger point near the spinal column could radiate pain down your entire back.
Our staff at Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine can help these swells of myofascial and muscle pain through trigger point injections. This shot of local anesthetic and steroid is inserted into an extremely tender area. You will usually receive this injection multiple times until you experience pain relief. We’ll administer numbing medicine first and then we’ll move the needle around the entire trigger point. Sometimes, patients may feel a small twitch in the area of affliction but this means the needle is in the correct area. Since the procedure typically only takes a few minutes, it allows for quick and convenient treatment for patients with busy schedules. After the trigger point injection, we then place a bandage over the injection site to stop bleeding.
A Trigger Point injection is a combination of both an anesthetic and a steroid, administered locally to reduce pain and aid recovery. During the procedure, we insert a needle to deliver pain-preventative medication. Side effects are as mild as numbness or weakness in legs. For long-term relief, multiple trigger point injections may be needed following the first injection.
You experience ongoing muscle pain — especially in your lower back, neck, legs, or arms.
You have chronic pain due to fibromyalgia, or suffer from tension headaches.
You have an ongoing infection, either systemic or local to the injection site.
You have an anticoagulation disorder, or are currently pregnant.
Trigger point injections are similar to most injections in that patients report some discomfort from the injection itself, but the procedure itself is not particularly painful in this way. There may be some increased pain at the time of injection since TPI treatments are administered precisely at the site of the pain, but this can be an indication that the medicine is being administered in the correct place.
A trigger point injection is a relatively short procedure, typically taking only 10-15 minutes. Usually, patients report that the treatment has begun to effectively treat their pain within only a few hours. Sometimes patients will receive multiple trigger point injections within a few weeks of beginning the treatment, but usually, trigger point injections are administered no more often than once every two months.
Most of the side effects of trigger point injections are typical of any injection-based treatment. These include:
These side effects typically wear off after a few hours.
Trigger point injections are used to treat pain and inflammation locally, particularly for patients experiencing pain in their arms, legs, neck, or lower back. They can also be used to treat chronic pain in patients who experience tension headaches or who suffer from fibromyalgia.