Trigger Point Injections

Trigger Point Injection

Trigger point injection (TPI) is a procedure used to treat painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points, or knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. Many times, such knots can be felt under the skin. Trigger points may irritate the nerves around them and cause referred pain, or pain that is felt in another part of the body.

What Happens During the Procedure?

In the TPI procedure, a physician inserts a small needle into your trigger points. The injection contains a local anesthetic . With the injection, the trigger point is made inactive and the pain is alleviated. Usually, a brief course of treatment will result in sustained relief. Injections are given in a doctors office and usually take just a few minutes. Several sites may be injected in one visit.

When Is Trigger Point Injection Used?

TPI is used to treat many muscle groups, especially those in the arms, legs, lower back, and neck. In addition, TPI can be used to treat fibromyalgia and tension/migraine headaches. TPI also is used to alleviate myofascial pain syndrome (chronic pain involving tissue that surrounds muscle) –back and hip pain, tennis elbow, rotator cuff strain, knee and ankle/foot strain- that does not respond to other treatments. I will often dry needle , in addition to TPI , for needling near the spinal cord and near large nerves (e.g. sciatic nerve) and blood vessels(e.g. carotid artery). In the American Family Physician there is an article stating that trigger point injection have been shown to be one of the most effective treatment modalities to inactivate trigger points and provide prompt relief of symptoms. (American Family Physician. 2002 Feb 15; 65(4):653-661) If you are one of the approximately 10% of the North American population who has pain and who does not want to rely entirely on pain medication, then now is the time to consider TPI.

What Are The Risks Of Trigger Point Injection?

The risks of this treatment depend a lot on what part of the body will be treated. The risk is very small – about the same as it would be for any injection. Some patients have had bleeding or infection. Some patients are allergic to the medicines used.

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