FAQ’s on Trigger Point Injections (TPI)

Trigger point injections (TPI) are injections of corticosteroids, local anesthetics, and long acting pain medications intended to provide long term Pain Relief in persons suffering from chronic pain.

This type of injection is given in areas called trigger points that are a focused area sending pain symptoms from a muscle, or a knotted bundle of nerves such as in the spine where pressure applied to the nerve from a herniated or bulging disc causes pain.

What are the goals and expectations when a patient receives trigger point injections?

The goal of TPI is to relieve pain for prolonged periods of time by breaking the cycle of pain that impairs the sufferer. All patients respond to the procedure differently, some may be provided with more successful results than others, and the duration of the benefit varies as well per patient. For some, it may work for only a few days, for others it may provide relief for weeks at a time. The expectations when administering trigger point injections is to allow the patient to return to a more normal and fully functional lifestyle.

How is the procedure performed?

The procedure is performed by a qualified physician specially trained in pain management techniques. They will prepare the injection sites with antiseptic, then a local anesthetic, often containing corticosteroids or a long acting pain medication will be injected into the site. Physicians may use innovative needle-guided electromyography (EMG) to precisely identify the trigger point.

With this type of procedure the doctor can see where the needle is going on a monitor and make adjustments in order to be as precise as possible.

The procedure only takes a relatively short period of time, a matter of minutes, but the patient should be monitored for negative side effects for up to ½ hour after the procedure. The patient may feel some discomfort during the injection process.

How long do the benefits of trigger point injections last?

The effects vary from person to person. Some may feel the benefit for only a few days while others may benefit from the injection for weeks after the procedure.

What are the risks or side effects of trigger point injections?

Adverse effects from the injections could include bleeding and/or bruising at the injection site, fever, chills, infection, numbness, and tingling, increased pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, redness, swelling, dizziness, and allergic reaction to the medications, or discharge from the injection site. If the patient experiences any of these they should contact their doctor immediately.

What conditions are treatable with trigger point injections?

Conditions that may benefit from trigger point injections include degenerative disc disease, herniated and bulging discs, chronic pain/central sensitization, back pain, muscular pain, arthritis, neck pain, shoulder pain, myofascial pain syndrome, and plantar fasciitis. Other conditions may benefit from trigger point injections, your doctor will decide if your condition can benefit from the procedure.

How successful are trigger point injections in the relief of pain?

The success rate for trigger point injections vary dependent upon the severity of the patients’ condition and how well they respond to the treatments. Overall most patients experience considerable Pain Relief benefits. Often trigger point injections are utilized along with physical therapy in the treatment of injury or chronic pain conditions.

Patients that strive for success in their treatment will experience more benefits than those that do not. Patients unable to partake of physical activity may be able to return to these activities to some extent after having the trigger point injection procedures.