Trigger Point Injections (TPI): Trigger Point Therapy

at Our Atlanta Pain Clinic

Trigger Point Injections (TPI): Trigger Point Therapy

for Pain Management in Atlanta

A “trigger point” is a tight, sensitive spot in a muscle that causes pain when pressure is applied to that area. Trigger points are often called “knots,” and they can occur when the muscle is unable to fully relax.

Treatment for Back Pain: Atlanta Trigger Point Injections

A “trigger point” is a tight, sensitive spot in a muscle that causes pain when pressure is applied to that area. Trigger points are often called “knots,” and they can occur when the muscle is unable to fully relax.

One method of relieving the tension at these trigger points is to inject a small needle directly into the trigger point. As the body senses the needle entering, it reflexively relaxes. This relaxation relieves the tension and pain that the patient can feel when pressure is applied to the knot. This treatment strategy is referred to as “trigger point injections” (TPI). Oftentimes your physician may use a local anesthetic with or without a steroid; however, a trigger point injection does not always require medication to be injected in the muscle to be effective.

Trigger point injections can also be used to treat pain in the fascia, which is a thin layer of tissue that runs throughout the body and provides an additional layer of structure to help keep organs in place.

A well-known treatment that is somewhat similar to trigger point injections is acupuncture. Acupuncture is a naturalistic treatment that is not performed by a medical practitioner and is alleged to improve many conditions unrelated to pain – including digestive, immune, and emotional or mental health issues. Trigger point injections are only performed by an MD specializing in physiatry or pain management and with the intent of relieving pain, soreness, or tension. Though there is some overlap, the approach and training are different, and it’s best to see an MD who specializes in trigger point injections if you are experiencing muscle or myofascial pain.

At United Spine and Ortho, our orthopedic doctor specializes in administering trigger point injections for the treatment of back pain. Atlanta pain patients benefit from the professional expertise that comes with specialty training in pain management.

How We Administer Trigger Point Injections in Our Pain Clinic in Atlanta, GA

When performing trigger point therapy in Atlanta, your doctor will use either a “wet” or “dry” approach. While both techniques will use a small needle applied to the activated trigger point, “dry needling” uses only a sterile needle to produce a result. To get a more powerful or longer-lasting effect, your doctor may choose to employ a “wet” method, meaning that they will inject a small amount of a pain-relieving medication – such as lidocaine with or without a steroid – into the affected area as well.

Before getting a trigger point injection at a pain clinic in Atlanta, GA, your doctor will perform a full evaluation to determine the cause of your pain. Once the trigger points to be treated are identified, your doctor will clean your skin in preparation for the injection. Depending on how tender the area is, a topical numbing agent might be used. Your doctor will then insert the needle, inject medication if a “wet” approach is being used, and remove the needle. The procedure itself should be very short, lasting only a few minutes. A brief evaluation and monitoring period will follow, after which you can go home.

What is Recovery Like for Trigger Point Injections?

Due to the non-invasive nature of trigger point injections, recovery tends to be very quick. Soreness near the injection site may occur, but this usually fades within a few hours. Depending on the location of the trigger point being treated, you may need to prevent yourself from performing certain movements or activities for a few hours. Your doctor will be able to tell you in advance if any movement restrictions will be needed. If a localized anesthetic is used, your doctor may encourage you not to drive or operate machinery for 24 hours.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Trigger Point Injections?

As a safe and minimally invasive treatment for pain, trigger point injections have very few side effects. Occasionally, swelling or inflammation around the injection site may occur.

If a medication is injected, such as lidocaine, the potential side effects of lidocaine will apply as well. These include nausea, swelling or redness, dizziness, headache, and possibly others. If a steroid is used, you may experience side effects of the injected steroid such as transient flushing/hot flashes, fluid retention, weight gain, elevated blood sugar, and mood swings. Talk to your doctor to learn whether he or she will inject medication, and if so, what the potential side effects might be.

Who is a Candidate for Trigger Point Injections?

Pain in many different regions can be treated through trigger point injections, but they are most commonly used for pain in the neck or back. Trigger point injections work especially well in conjunction with other rehabilitation treatments, such as physical therapy.

Individuals who are in extreme pain and unable to tolerate small movements may not be good candidates for trigger point injections. As the treatment will involve the repeated use of needles, it may not be ideal for those who are uncomfortable with needles.