WHAT ARE TRIGGER POINT INJECTIONS?
A trigger point injection can help soothe muscle pain and is generally used to treat painful areas such as muscle or knots. With the injection, a small amount of anesthetic and steroid are injected into the trigger point, to help alleviate localized pain as well as referred pain from this trigger point.
Trigger points are painful “knots” in the muscles that form when the muscle can’t relax.There are focal areas of spasm and inflammation in the skeletal muscles. The most common site for trigger points are the rhomboid and trapezius back muscles, located in the upper back area behind the shoulders. Trigger points in these areas can cause neck pain, shoulder pain, and headache. Even though they are mostly characteristic in the upper back, trigger points can occur in the lower back and less commonly in other extremities.
Usually the trigger point resolves after one injection. The trigger points caused by chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome can recur due to an underlying problem. In these cases, the trigger point injections may be administered on a regular basis.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM TRIGGER POINT INJECTIONS
The trigger point injection is performed in the health care professional’s office. The patient is either lying on the stomach on the exam table or seated.
First the health care professional locates the trigger point by manual palpation and places a mark on the site. Frequently a numbing spray is used to anesthetize the skin and make the injection less painful. Then the needle is inserted into the trigger point and the medication is injected. After the injection, a simple adhesive bandage may be applied.