Trigger Point Injection: What You Need To Know
Trigger point injection can help soothe chronic muscle pain caused by trigger points and other musculoskeletal system issues. Trigger points are painful knots in your muscle that form when your muscles do not relax. You can feel these painful knots when you rub your skin. These trigger points cause pain in seemingly unrelated parts of the body—a phenomenon known as referred pain. Such pain can significantly limit your daily functioning and affect life quality. Thus, to help you with your muscle pain, your doctor may recommend a trigger point injection.
Procedure For A Trigger Point Injection
Trigger point injection is a simple outpatient procedure. We always perform this procedure under ultrasonography guidance. It only takes a 10-15 minutes to complete the procedure. Its steps are as follows:
- You will sit on a chair or lie on the operating table for the injection.
- Your doctor will locate your trigger points by palpating and pressing your muscles and then visualize it under ultrasound.
- They will insert a needle into the trigger point and inject an anesthetic with or without steroid. The mixture may contain botulinum toxin as well to prevent nerve transmission and muscle contraction. Ultrasound is needed for this procedure.
Depending upon your muscle pain, you will have several trigger point injections over many weeks. However, steroid medications are not mandatory and only used once or twice.
Indications For Trigger Point Injection
Trigger point injection can help treat pain in many muscle groups such as arms, legs, lower back, and neck. Your doctor will recommend such an injection if traditional pain therapies, i.e., medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications, fail to alleviate your pain. These injections can be used to treat the following types of chronic pain:
Myofascial pain syndrome:
It is a type of chronic muscle and its surrounding tissue pain. Its causes may include muscle injury, poor posture, repetitive motion, etc. Symptoms of myofascial pain are muscle stiffness, weakness, and reduced range of motion.
It is a type of muscle pain whose exact cause remains unknown. But, its risk factors include an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, infections, being female, etc. Its symptoms are pain, stiffness, and numbness throughout the body, poor sleep, and fatigue. When fibromyalgia is associated with myofascial pain, your doctor may perform trigger point injection.
Trigger points in the shoulder, neck, and head may lead to migraine or tension headache.
Side Effects And Complications
Trigger point injections do not cause significant side effects. Injection site complications such as bleeding and infection are uncommon. But still, you may experience the following side effects:
- Pain, soreness, or temporary numbness at the injection site
- Discoloration or dimpling of the skin
- Swelling and tenderness near the injection site
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Muscle or nerve damage
- Allergic reaction to the medicine used
These side effects are trivial and usually wear off within hours.
Advantages Of Trigger Point Injection
Its benefits may include:
- Immediate pain relief (for some people)
- Decreased muscle inflammation
- Improved range of muscle movements
- Quality of life is improved
- Safe procedure without any complications
- Limited or no side effects after the procedure
Different people have different responses to trigger point injections. Some people begin to feel immediate relief from pain; in others, however, it may take days or even weeks. Yet, in others, these injections may not relieve pain at all.