Trigger point injection (TPI) is used to treat extremely painful areas of muscle. Normal muscle contracts and relaxes when it is active. A trigger point is a knot or tight, ropy band of muscle that forms when muscle fails to relax. The knot often can be felt under the skin and may twitch involuntarily when touched (called a jump sign).
The trigger point can trap or irritate surrounding nerves and cause referred pain — pain felt in another part of the body. Scar tissue, loss of range of motion, and weakness may develop over time.
TPI is used to alleviate myofascial pain syndrome (chronic pain involving tissue that surrounds muscle) that does not respond to other treatment, although there is some debate over its effectiveness. Many muscle groups, especially those in the arms, legs, lower back, and neck, are treated by this method. TPI also can be used to treat Fibromyalgia and tension headaches.
Trigger Point Injections are limited to what is called the “soft tissue” of the body. They are not given into blood vessels, nerves, joints or the spinal canal.
You may be sitting or lying down in order to be comfortable. This allows Dr. Chowdhury and associates who are a leading specialists of administering Trigger Point Injections in particular for the treatment of auto accidents injuries to localize areas of maximum tenderness. These areas are cleansed with a sterile solution. The injection is then performed using local anesthetic and sometimes an anti-inflammatory steroid. You may experience some transient burning as the local anesthetic starts to take effect before it numbs the area. Injection of medication inactivates the trigger point and thus alleviates pain. Sustained relief usually is achieved with a brief course of treatment. Several sites may be injected in one visit.
Icing for 20 to 30 minutes several times later on the day of the injection may be helpful, along with easy stretching exercises. You may return immediately to work or regular activities after the injection. You may drive, although some people feel less nervous if they know they have someone along to drive them home. You should continue any physical therapy sessions already scheduled. At times, the physician will specifically want to perform the injection on a day when you are scheduled for physical therapy. You may be sore for the first 24 to 48 hours. If any unusual redness or swelling or warmth occurs at the injection site, notify the physician. You may continue taking all of your regular medications. The doctor may prescribe some new medications to enhance the effectiveness of the injections.