What is a trigger point injection?
Trigger point injections are given to inactivate your trigger points and provide prompt relief from chronic pain from conditions such as myofascial pain syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Trigger point injections are given to inactivate your trigger points, resulting in prompt relief from chronic pain.
A trigger point is a painful point in the muscle that feels like a knot under your skin or a tight band of muscle. When you press it, it may cause pain in other parts of your body.
Trigger points may also cause stiffness of the muscles and a decreased range of motion.
Giving certain injections on trigger points helps relieve your muscle pain. The injection can contain any of the following medications:
- Anesthetic such as Xylocaine (lidocaine) or Marcaine (bupivacaine)
- A mixture of anesthetics
- Steroid alone or mixed with lidocaine
- No medication (dry needling)
When do you need trigger point injections?
Certain chronic painful conditions of the muscles and joints require taking painkillers frequently, some of which even fail to provide long-lasting or adequate relief from pain. Trigger point injections can be an alternative for pain management in people with the following conditions:
- Myofascial pain syndrome (common painful chronic muscle disorder)
- Fibromyalgia (a chronic condition that causes pain all over the body)
- Chronic or episodic headaches or tension headaches
- Jaw pain
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Groin pain
Do trigger point injections work immediately?
Trigger point injections are given in a doctor’s clinic and usually take just 10-15 minutes.
Each person responds differently to trigger point injections, and the timing of the injection’s action varies from person to person.
Trigger point injections of anesthetic medicines usually work within a few hours. Steroid injections may work within two weeks of the injection, or they may not work at all. Some people get relief from dry needling while some do not.
What do you do after trigger point injections?
- Your doctor stretches your muscles manually. Before stretching, your doctor may spray a vapocoolant spray over the muscles to relax them. Next, a hot pack will be applied over them for several minutes.
- Heavy physical activities should be avoided until your muscle soreness is present.
- After the soreness subsides, you should do stretching exercises followed by exercises that strengthen your muscles.
- When you can tolerate muscle strengthening exercises well, you can gradually begin such exercises as swimming, bicycling, tennis, jogging, and jumping rope.
What characterizes fibromyalgia?
How long does a trigger point injection last?
A trigger point resolves after one injection. This usually happens if the action that is causing the trigger point is avoided.
Trigger points that arise due to chronic conditions (fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome) keep recurring. In these conditions, trigger point injections need to be given frequently.
The frequency of trigger point injections depends on the type of medicine in the injection. If only anesthetics are injected, then the injections can be taken at intervals of one month. Steroid medications cannot be injected as frequently as the anesthetics due to their complications. However, the effect of a steroid in trigger point injections can last from several weeks to several months.
After trigger point injections, you may experience a drastic improvement in your pain and ability to do various activities without the need for taking pain medications for several days or months.
What are the side effects of trigger point injections?
Trigger point injections break the pain cycle with little to no side effects. The side effects depend on the type of medicine in the injection and mostly occur only at the injection site. These are as follows:
- Hematoma (pooling of blood under the skin)
- Dimpling of skin