Trigger point injections are a form of 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 injection may be an anesthetic such as lidocaine (xylocaine), a corticosteroid, or a mixture of both. Trigger points are sensitive areas of muscle that develop when the tissue surrounding the muscle, called fascia (or myofascia), contracts and sticks to itself. These knots can cause pain in the area where they form and can lead to a pain cycle that continues until the tension is broken.
Indications for trigger point injections include an identifiable sensitive and palpable area that produces a pattern of referred pain. Trigger point injections often contain lidocaine (xylocaine) or bupivacaine (marcaine). They may also contain corticosteroids that may or may not be mixed with anesthetics. If the injections consist only of anesthesia, patients may receive injections more frequently than if they also contain steroid medications.
Trigger point injections have been successful in providing relief to those who suffer from frequent headaches or fibromyalgia. Communication with the patient throughout the procedure is essential to ensure that the treatment addresses an active trigger point. If the method is dry needling, treatment of that point is completed once the trigger point is relaxed. Trained medical providers, including doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners, can perform trigger point injections.
If you use a topical anesthetic spray, be sure to anesthetize the trigger points before starting the procedure. Ultimately, these injections go directly to the source of the pain to relieve it. Trigger point injections relieve pain for people who have been suffering from pain associated with trigger points and who haven't found relief with more conservative treatments, such as pain relievers or physical therapy.