Can Trigger Point Injections Cause Nerve Damage?

Trigger point injections are a popular treatment for musculoskeletal and systemic disorders, such as headache and low back pain. These injections involve depositing medication directly into the nerves that supply the region, and can help to relieve pain caused by entrapment, compression, or irritation of sensory nerves. While the risk of complications is low, some side effects may occur after the injection, such as numbness or pain at the injection site. In rare cases, post-injection pain may occur, which usually resolves on its own after a few days.

Ice, heat, or over-the-counter medications may be helpful for post-injection pain. A trigger point is a “knot” or bump under the skin that can cause pain in the area where it developed. Trigger point injections are a pain control treatment that involves injecting a local anesthetic, sometimes combined with a steroid medication, into a trigger point to relax muscles and relieve pain. The doctor's sense of touch and the patient's expressions of pain on palpation are the most commonly used method for locating a trigger point. The area is tender and, often, when pushed, the pain radiates from the trigger point itself to an area around the trigger point. In some cases, a trigger point can even cause referred pain in another area of the body when it affects a nearby nerve.

This can occur when a patient has an isolated trigger point, especially if the cause of the trigger point has been eliminated. Trigger point injections are usually safe and can provide relief for people who have been suffering from pain associated with trigger points and who haven't found relief with more conservative treatments. The ultrasound-guided technique can be adapted to perform an injection in the lower back, aimed at the dorsal branches of the lumbar spinal nerves to increase the effectiveness of the injection. Most of the studies employed the subjective location of trigger points, and the techniques for locating and injecting trigger points were not well described. In conclusion, while trigger point injections are generally safe and effective for relieving pain associated with trigger points, there is still some risk of nerve damage associated with this procedure. It is important to discuss any potential risks with your healthcare provider before undergoing this treatment.

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