What is a Trigger Point Injection?

TPI (Trigger Point Injections) are often used as minimally-invasive treatment options for pain.

What Do TPI’s Target?

 They target muscles to alleviate pain caused by “trigger points.” These trigger points are painful knots or taut bands in the muscle. Often, patients can feel these knots beneath the skin, and they are tender to the touch. The trigger points in the muscle group can form through acute trauma or repetitive use/strain, causing the muscle fibers to be stuck in a contracted state in a hardened or “fibrous” state. When trigger points go untreated, they can end up causing myofascial pain, or even nerve pain. Myofascial pain is defined as chronic muscular pain. This condition is caused by trigger points that go untreated or are consistently apparent. Myofascial pain is the top reason people undergo trigger point injections. 

Trigger points can cause nerve pain when the muscle contraction compresses a nearby nerve. Since the nerve has extra pressure or unwanted contact, it sends pain signals back to the brain. 

What Can I Do To Treat Trigger Points?

Patients can attempt to treat trigger points with gentle stretching and/or massage therapy. Oftentimes, heat can help relax the tight muscles as well. In some cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can be helpful in treating this condition. Other cases may require muscle relaxers to try to help stop the painful cycle. Talk with your doctor if these may be solutions for your trigger points. Physical therapy is an excellent way to manage painful trigger points, when other conservative measures fail. Your physical therapist will teach you how to properly stretch and strengthen the affected muscles. In cases that do not respond to these measures, a trigger point injection (TPI) may help stop this pain. 

What Does a TPI Do?

TPIs are very effective in treating muscular pain due to multiple factors. Putting a needle into a trigger point breaks down the muscle and hopefully will cause the contraction to cease. For good measure, a solution containing a local anesthetic and often a corticosteroid is injected, which differentiates trigger point injections from dry needling. The local anesthesia and the corticosteroid help relax the muscle by inhibiting contraction and decreasing inflammation.. 

Effectiveness and Recovery of TPI’s

Trigger point injections have become more and more common in medical practice. As knowledge advances, TPIs have become recognized as safe, minimally-invasive, and fast-acting treatments for muscular pain. Most patients tend to feel the effects of the TPI within 1-2 hours, with many of those patients still feeling relief 30 days after the injection. Recovery from a trigger point injection is very minimal. Some patients may feel a slight soreness at or around the injection site, but this feeling tends to fade within a day or two. 

Who Can Perform a TPI?

Drs. Giuffrida and Westerhaus, Interventional Pain Specialist at Cantor Spine Center, often perform trigger point injections. At Cantor Spine Center at the Paley Orthopedic & Spine Institute, we have an extremely experienced and highly qualified specialist that have done hundreds of trigger point injections. If you would like to learn more about trigger point injections, or you would like to schedule an appointment to see if trigger point injections are right for you, call (954) 567-1332 to schedule your appointment.