Munson Health
 
Trigger Point Injection

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by Stahl RJ

(Injection, Trigger Point)

 

What to Expect

Prior to the Procedure

Your doctor may:
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may have to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
  • Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, ibuprofen , naproxen )
  • Blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin
  • Anti-platelet drugs, such as clopidogrel
Depending on where your trigger point is, you may need someone to drive you home after the procedure.

Anesthesia

You will typically remain awake during the procedure. A local anesthetic may be used to numb the area where the injection will be given.

Description of the Procedure

First, the skin around the painful area will be cleansed with an antiseptic. Next, the doctor will locate the trigger point. This may be done by feeling for the painful area with his fingers. Once the trigger point in found, a thin needle containing medicine will be injected. The injection may contain a long-acting pain reliever, a water solution, or a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation. Botulinum toxin is also sometimes used for trigger point injections associated with muscle contraction. Sometimes the doctor will simply put the needle into the trigger point and not inject any medicine. This is all done to break the pain cycle at the trigger point. If you have more than one trigger point, you may need several injections.
Some doctors may use needle-guided electromyography (EMG) to locate the trigger point. With this approach, a needle will send information to a monitor, which will allow the doctor to make sure he has located the right spot.

How Long Will It Take?

The injection takes a few minutes.

Will It Hurt?

When the doctor feels for the trigger point, you will have discomfort. You will also feel a pinching sensation when the needle goes through your skin. You may have pain, which should not last long.

Post Procedure Care

At the Care Center
The hospital staff will apply pressure to the injection site and place a bandage there. You will be observed for a short time to make sure you do not have any poor reactions to the injection. Then, you will be able to go home or return to work.
At Home 
Take these steps to help ensure a smooth recovery:
  • To reduce soreness, apply ice or a cold pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes, four times a day. You may want to do this for several days. Wrap the ice in a towel. Do not apply it directly to your skin.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medicine as recommended by your doctor. The soreness should go away in a couple of days.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for doing physical therapy. You may need to meet with your physical therapist soon after the injection to take advantage of the pain relief in your muscles.
You may have pain relief for weeks or even months. In some cases, though, you may need to have more than one trigger point injection. Talk to your doctor about how often you will need this treatment.
 

RESOURCES

American Chronic Pain Association
http://www.theacpa.org/default.aspx/

National Fibromyalgia Association
http://www.fmaware.org/site/PageServer.html/

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The Arthritis Society
http://www.arthritis.ca/

Fibromyalgia Information and Local Support
http://fibromyalgia.ncf.ca/

 

References


Alvarez D, Rockwell P. Trigger points: diagnosis and management. American Family Physician website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0215/p653.html . Published February 15, 2002. Accessed March 3, 2011.


Trigger point injection. St. Francis Hospital website. Available at: http://www.stfrancishospitals.org/painclinic/Trigger%20Point%20Injection.pdf . Accessed March 3, 2011.


Trigger point injection. St. John Health System website. Available at: http://www.stjohnprovidence.org/HealthInfoLib/swArticle.aspx?3,83753 . Accessed March 3, 2011.


Trigger point injections. Integrative Pain Center of Arizona website. Available at: http://www.ipcaz.org/pages/procedures/trigger.html . Accessed March 3, 2011.


Trigger point injections. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center website. Available at: http://www.mskcc.org/patient%5Feducation/%5Fassets/downloads-english/416.pdf . Updated 2009. Accessed March 3, 2011.


Trigger point injections. University of Wisconsin Hospital website. Available at: http://www.uwhealth.org/healthfacts/B%5FEXTRANET%5FHEALTH%5FINFORMATION-FlexMember-Show%5FPublic%5FHFFY%5F1126652225741.html . Updated June 21, 2010. Accessed March 3, 2011.


Trigger point injection therapy. Fibromyalgia Symptoms website. Available at: http://www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org/fibromyalgia%5Finjections.html . Accessed March 3, 2011.


6/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.

 

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