Trigger points are focal, hyperirritable spots located on taut bands of skeletal muscle.
They can cause localized pain in one area or referred pain that radiates to other regions of the body.
Trigger points occur because the blood supply to the muscle is constricted, leading to decreased oxygen delivery to the tissue causing pain and muscle spasm.
The insertion of a needle into a trigger point typically results in a local twitch response which allows the muscle fibers to stretch and relax thereby relieving constriction and restoring microcirculation.
These injections typically include a local anesthetic and sometimes an anti-inflammatory or in severe cases a very low amount of steroid medication.
How does Trigger point injection therapy work?
The local placement of the needle into the spasmed muscle helps to stop the constant firing of the muscle tissue and increase local circulation.
Once the needle is inserted, a small amount of fluid is introduced to help stop the spasms and firing of the tissue and reduce the local inflammation.
Depending on how long you have had the problem and how severe it is, we may repeat a series of trigger point injections or at times only one session is needed to provide you the relief you have been seeking.
This may be combined with other Regenerative Injection Therapies.
Trigger Point Injections FAQ What is a trigger point?
Trigger points are hyperirritable spots located on taut bands of skeletal muscle that can cause localized pain in one area or referred pain to other areas of the body.
It is thought that a trigger point causes pain because the blood supply to a muscle is constricted which leads to decreased oxygen delivery, tissue distress, and the release of substances that consequently lead to pain.
This pain potentiates the so-called “pain-spasm-pain” cycle. The pain that a trigger point causes can mimic the pain people feel from nerves being pinched in their neck or low back.
How are trigger point injections helpful?
A trigger point injection is a specific type of local injection that your physician can use to treat local areas of muscle pain and spasm.
Your physician may choose to give you a trial of trigger point injections to see if they can help these areas of local muscle tenderness and relieve pain.
Common medications used in trigger point injections include local anesthetic, normal saline, an anti-inflammatory, and occasionally small doses of steroid medication.
Many studies have been done on trigger point injections and the efficacy of these different types of medications. Research has demonstrated that just the local placement of the needle can help with muscle spasms, like acupuncture.
The volume of the solution can affect muscle spasms as well. Utilizing a local anesthetic to numb the region of pain can help break the cycle of pain.
A small dose of anti-inflammatory medication at the site can help decrease inflammation as well. Often, even the injection of normal saline can be helpful for pain.
What can I expect during the treatment?
Using a small needle, trigger point injections are administered into the belly of the affected muscle. Generally, with muscle spasms and trigger points, more than one muscle group is affected requiring multiple injections at various sites.
The injections are well tolerated, but, some patients may experience mild discomfort with needle insertion. Because we are using a local anesthetic to numb the area, most patients experience immediate relief of symptoms following the procedure.
Some patients experience rebound pain once the anesthesia wears off. But, most have relief of symptoms for several days or even weeks.
Trigger point injections are sometimes repeated in a series, depending on the results of the injections and the relief of pain that they provide.
What are the risks and complications?
Trigger point injections are a safe and effective treatment with minimal risk for infection.
No procedure is completely risk-free. Potential risks may include pain at the injection site, allergic reaction, infection at the injection site and injury to tissues at the injection site including bleeding, bruising or swelling.
The procedure may also fail to reduce pain symptoms.