Trigger Point Injections
A trigger point is a discrete, sensitive focal spot that is located in a taut band of skeletal muscle. When compressed, it produces pain directly over the affected area and/or causes radiation of pain toward a zone of reference and a local twitch response. Areas of the body that are commonly affected include the arms, neck, shoulders, legs and lower back. Trigger points may also manifest in tension headaches and tinnitus. Acute trauma or repetitive micro-trauma can lead to the development of trigger points, resulting in a decreased range of motion in the affected area. Trigger points commonly accompany chronic musculoskeletal disorders such as fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome.
Trigger Point Injections
A trigger point injection (TPI) is a treatment option for some patients who are experiencing pain. The injection is an anaesthetic that is administered to treat painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points and knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax.
A TPI contains a mixture of medications that help relax the muscle and reduce inflammation. As the injection takes effect, blood flow improves and the body begins to heal itself.
During your Appointment
Your doctor will discuss the procedure with you before administering the injection. Once you have provided your consent for it to go ahead, the skin around the injection site will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution or spray. A needle is inserted into the muscle containing the trigger point and the medication is injected. This takes approximately 15 minutes and you may feel some light pressure, tightening or pulling sensation during the process.
Ideally, a trigger point will resolve after one injection, but you may require several injections over the course of 2-3 weeks, with additional injections given every 1-2 months thereafter. Trigger points that are caused through repetitive minor trauma or movement can usually be treated with one injection, whereas those caused by chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome tend to recur due to the underlying problem. In these cases, ongoing injections are likely to be required.
Following Your Procedure
After your procedure, you will be assisted to sit up and your blood pressure and pulse may be checked. A nurse will stay with you until you can safely stand and get dressed.
You will likely feel some aching or tenderness at the injection site but this should go within a few days. You can ease any discomfort by taking over the counter painkillers such as ibuprofen. You should keep the injection site dry for 24 hours following your injection to avoid any risk of infection.
You should be able to return home fairly soon after your injection, but you will need to ensure someone can drive you as it will be unsafe for you to do so following the procedure. You can resume your normal activities fairly soon after leaving hospital, but do not do anything to strenuous too soon.
It is recommended that someone stays with you for the first 24 hours following your procedure, but if this is not possible, make sure you have access to a telephone. Do not operate machinery or drink alcohol until you are fit to do so. You should discuss any concerns you have with your doctor before leaving the hospital.
As your pain decreases, you should try to increase your exercise. Simple activities like a daily walk, using an exercise bike or swimming, will help to improve your muscle tone. It is best to increase your activities gradually. If you are unsure or finding exercises increasingly difficult, your GP or healthcare professional can discuss a referral to physiotherapy. Physical therapy has been shown to improve overall performance.
Side Effects of Trigger Point Injections
Side effects from trigger point injections are uncommon as the procedure is considered very safe, but occasionally they can occur and include:
- Pain or tenderness near the injection site
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Temporary numbness around the injection site
- Discolouration or dimpling of the skin near the injection site
A more serious side effect to trigger point injections is a severe form of muscle damage called myonecrosis. This usually clears within 3-4 weeks, but you should contact your GP if symptoms continue beyond this.
At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a Pain Management specialist, usually within 48 hours. Trigger point injections are available at One Ashford Hospital in Kent and One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Trigger Point Injections treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, X-ray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience