What is a Trigger Point Injection (TPI)?
A trigger point is a tight band of tissue within a muscle, that when pressed upon, causes your typical pain. Trigger Point Injections (TPI) are ordered by your physician to try to help “break up” the tight muscle. A TPI is an injection of local anesthetic (numbing medication), with or without steroid medication, into the trigger point in the muscle. You should be involved in an active stretching and strengthening program to help prevent the trigger points from coming back. TPI may need to be repeated, especially if you are unable to perform exercises because of pain or spasm. Stretching and exercise are key to both eliminating and preventing trigger points.
How long does the TPI take?
The procedure takes under 10 minutes.
Will the injection hurt?
The most effective trigger point injections are the injections that feel like your typical pain at the time of the injection. Therefore, there may be temporary discomfort/pain upon the injection, but as it is local anesthetic (numbing medicine) with or without steroid medication, the discomfort/pain is short-lived.
What should I expect after the procedure and what are the side effects?
Your pain will be improved immediately after the injection from the local anesthetic medication. The steroid medication, when used, usually takes two or three days to have an effect in most people and has its stronger effect in about two weeks. Some tenderness around the area injected may be experienced for a couple days. Using an ice pack with a barrier such as a towel between the skin and ice three or four times a day will help this. Do not use heat for the remainder of the day of the injection. Have someone massage the area injected to help break up the spasm is helpful. Gentle stretching exercises of the involved area are also recommended. It is important that you keep track of the amount of pain relief you received as well as how long the pain relief lasted.