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Trigger Point Injections: FAQs

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Trigger point injections contain a local anesthetic and sometimes a corticosteroid and are a relatively easy and inexpensive treatment option that can provide an instant reduction in pain. In addition to the immediate pain relief, they can also provide long-term pain relief and help improve range of motion, helping patients return to their normal daily activities.

Trigger point injections are particularly helpful for patients whose pain has not responded to more
conservative treatments such as physical therapy and massage. They can be used to treat pain from
various conditions such as fibromyalgia, migraine, tension, myofascial pain syndrome, and more, efficiently reducing or even eliminating dependence on pain medications.

What are trigger points?
You can develop trigger points in any area of the body, but they are most familiar near bony attachments and in the shoulder and pelvic areas. These are tender, sensitive, or painful nodules or areas that can usually be identified using palpation. They have many different causes. These tender points may form as a result of an overuse injury or muscle strain, herniated disk, fracture, compressed nerve, postural problems, osteoarthritis, or surgical incision healing sites. However, a direct cause cannot always be found; sometimes, the section itself is the source of pain.

Who can benefit?
These injections are typically recommended for patients whose trigger points can be found by palpation. Your doctor will assess to ensure that you do not have joint disorders such as chronic shoulder pain or lower back pain that could become disabling if not treated properly. That’s because trigger point injections are not a cure, but rather a pain management technique. Patients who should not undergo trigger point injections include those with a hemorrhagic syndrome, allergies to local anesthetics, anticoagulant use, or psychiatric disturbance. They are also not recommended for patients with multiple trigger points who also have another condition such as hyperthyroidism, estrogen deficiency, or Cushing disease. However, for other patients, they represent a highly effective treatment with only a small risk of complications.

What to expect
Patients will discuss the procedure with their doctors to ensure that they understand the procedure and what to expect. Sometimes, the immediate pain relief is followed by a return of the pain; follow-up
Injections can provide the desired results. After the procedure, patients can often resume their daily activities and even return to work. Continuing a treatment plan of physical therapy, stretching exercises, or rest – as recommended – can maximize the results of the procedure.

Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine now offers trigger point injections alongside a range of treatments designed to address back pain, neck pain, sports injuries, car accident injuries, and Workers’ Compensation cases.

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