A trigger point is a traumatized area felt within the muscle. It may feel like a knot or a tight pull of the muscle band and is very tender to deep pressure or palpation. Trigger points can be caused by a primary muscle problem, trauma, scar tissue formation, fibromyalgia, post surgery or a variety of other possible conditions.
Trigger point injections are used to treat extremely painful areas of a muscle. These areas of muscle pain (trigger points) may occur in any area of the body but most commonly develop in the neck, shoulders and lower back.
If trigger points are left untreated they can further trap and irritate surrounding nerves and cause referred pain in another part of the body (close in proximity to the original site). For this reason, the procedure requires multiple injections into surrounding muscles.
Trigger point injections are a simple procedure that is performed in-office. An initial examination will help to identify the trigger points. A small needle is entered into the trigger point space and a steroid or anesthetic solution is administered. The injection may cause a twitch or mild pain that may last from a few seconds to a few minutes. The solution is also injected into the surrounding muscles to ensure that the pain experienced is not referred pain from another area. The numbness associated with the local anesthetic may last about an hour. Soreness may be experienced after the injection but the pain typically responds well to an ice pack or massage.
Pain relief after the injection is immediate though the duration of the pain relief varies depending on the extent of the injury and the recovery time. Depending upon the areas injected, stretching exercises and light exercise for several days following the procedure may be recommended.