A trigger point injection is an outpatient procedure that reduces myofascial pain caused by trigger points, which are characterized as small, knotted muscles. These tender nodules are typically located within the fascia tissue of the back, neck, and shoulders. Trigger point injections can be used to treat trigger points and chronic inflammatory pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and tension headaches. These injections typically contain a mixture of anesthetics and corticosteroids, but they may also contain no medication solution at all. When no medication is used, the technique is called dry needling.
What To Expect
Before the procedure, a TriState Pain institute physician will ask the patient to either lie face down or remain seated to prepare for the injection. Once the patient is positioned comfortably, the physician will manipulate the skin to locate the trigger points. These palpable nodules are relatively easy to find due to their tough anatomy. When the trigger point has been correctly identified, the physician will clean the injection site and carefully insert the needle into the nodule. The medication mixture will be injected and the trigger point will be monitored closely. If the trigger point does not relax or the patient has more than one nodule, additional injections will be administered to provide sustained pain relief.
Following the treatment, a small bandage may be placed over the injection site(s). A TriState Pain Institute physician will provide the patient with simple stretches and movements to reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling during recovery. Patients may also apply an ice pack to the affected area(s) to decrease discomfort. If complications do not arise immediately after the procedure, patients will be able to return home that same day. A follow-up appointment may be made a few days or weeks after the trigger point injection to observe the treatment's progress.