Trigger point injections are used to treat several muscle groups, especially those in the arms, legs, lower back, and neck. They can also be used to treat fibromyalgia, tension headaches, and myofascial pain syndrome that does not respond to other treatments.
In This Article:
- What Is a Trigger Point?
- What Are Trigger Point Injections?
- Conditions Treated with Trigger Point Injections
- How Do Trigger Point Injections Work?
- Who Can Benefit from Trigger Point Injections?
- Novus Spine & Pain Center
- Trigger Point Injections Resources
What Is a Trigger Point?
When a muscle becomes stiff, torn, or bruised, the point of origin for the injury is known as the “trigger point.” Trigger points (sometimes called a muscle “knot”) can form when a muscle can’t relax. Often, there is a noticeable nodule (lump) in the muscle at the trigger point. The area is tender, and pressing on the spot will cause pain to radiate into surrounding areas.
Trigger points are sensitive areas in the muscle or connective tissue (fascia) that become painful when compressed. They are hyperirritable areas located in a taut band of skeletal muscle that produces pain at both the trigger point and at locations away from the trigger point. The pain often accompanies chronic musculoskeletal disorders. Patients may experience persistent pain and a decreased range of motion in the affected muscles.
Common trigger points are muscles located in the upper back and behind the shoulder areas. Trigger points in these areas can cause neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches, and even migraines.
Trigger points commonly accompany chronic musculoskeletal disorders such as fibromyalgia and low back pain. In addition, trigger points can occur in the extremities. Acute trauma or repetitive minor injury can lead to the development of a trigger point.
What Are Trigger Point Injections?
A trigger point injection (TPI) is the pain management technique involving an injection directly into a trigger point. The injection can consist of:
- A local anesthetic, such as lidocaine, which blocks pain receptors in muscles and reduces the pain signals sent to the brain.
- A corticosteroid reduces inflammation in the muscle and connective tissue surrounding a nerve.
- Botulinum toxin A (Botox), which interferes with nerve signaling pathways and prevents muscle contractions.
- Dry needling. The practice of inserting a needle into a trigger point without injecting medication. Used when a patient has an allergy to a drug that would be injected.
Trigger point injections are typically given in the Lakeland, Florida, pain doctor’s office and usually take just a few minutes.
Conditions Treated with Trigger Point Injections
Trigger point injections help relieve pain caused by conditions that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, such as:
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome. This condition typically occurs after a muscle has been contracted repetitively. It can be due to repetitive motions used in jobs, hobbies, stress-related muscle tension, or even poor posture.
- Fibromyalgia. A chronic pain condition that shares some symptoms of arthritis but affects the soft tissue instead of the joints.
- Headaches. Trigger points in the shoulders, neck, and head can contribute to migraine and tension-type headache
Trigger point injections are often used when a patient has a painful trigger point, especially when pain radiates from the trigger point into the surrounding area. However, the trigger points commonly recur with chronic pain syndromes.
How Do Trigger Point Injections Work?
The injection is typically administered in the doctor’s office. The doctor locates the trigger point by touching the skin and marking the site. Imaging is not usually necessary to diagnose and locate a trigger point. However, if an underlying condition is the cause of the trigger point, imaging can be helpful.
The patient can have several trigger point injections during a single doctor visit. The procedure only takes a few minutes. After the injection, a small adhesive bandage may be applied at the point of the injection.
Trigger points caused by chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome tend to recur due to the underlying problem. In these cases, trigger point injections may be administered on a regular or as-needed basis. The frequency of trigger point injections depends on the medication being injected.
Who Can Benefit from Trigger Point Injections?
Trigger point injections may be the right pain management treatment for muscle pain that has not improved with other treatments, including pain medication and physical therapy.
Patients who undergo physical therapy, in addition to trigger point injections, have been shown to improve overall performance and efficiency.
Novus Spine & Pain Center
Novus Spine & Pain Center is in Lakeland, Florida, and treats patients experiencing chronic pain with numerous therapies including trigger point injections. By using a comprehensive approach and cutting edge therapies, we work together with patients to restore function and regain an active lifestyle, while minimizing the need for opiates.
For your convenience, you may schedule an appointment online, request a call back, or call our office at 863-583-4445.
Trigger Point Injections Resources
Trigger Point Injection (MedicineNet)
Trigger Point Injection for Pain Management (WebMD)
Trigger Point Injection (Cleveland Clinic)
Trigger Points: Diagnosis and Management (American Family Physician)
The Basics of Trigger Point Injections for Headache and Migraine (American Migraine Foundation)
Everything you need to know about trigger point injections (Medical News Today)
Trigger Point Injections (National Spine & Pain Center)
Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain Syndrome (Pain Science)
Trigger Point Injection Image Gallery (Novus Spine & Pain Center)
Updated: April 18, 2022