Trigger points are tender areas within skeletal muscle that may result from an abnormality of the muscle or occur when nerves that supply muscles become irritated.
Whatever their cause, trigger points are associated with pain and tenderness in skeletal muscle and can be identified on physical examination as palpable, tender bands (or cords) of muscular tissue. Pain from trigger points may be mild or severe. Although most resolve without trigger point injection treatment or with conservative measures such as heat, massage or myofascial release therapy, some trigger points are persistently painful and disabling.
When trigger point pain is severe and refractory to conservative measures, trigger point injection treatment with local anesthetic — with or without added steroid — may be helpful. Trigger points may be injected with tiny needles of variable length placed through the skin and into the substance of the muscle.
Risk is minimal and discomfort on trigger point injections treatment can be minimized with sedation, if necessary. Five to ten trigger points may be injected in one treatment session, and trigger point injection treatment sessions are typically repeated at regular intervals in series and coordinated with physical therapy.
For some trigger point injection treatment patients, trigger point pain is a recurrent, intermittent problem that may be managed over the long term with occasional trigger point injections treatment and a combination of conservative therapies. Other patients respond with long-lasting benefit from a single session of trigger point injections treatment.