What is a Trigger Point?
A trigger point is a tight, painful "knot" of muscle fiber. It can form where a muscle is strained or injured. The knot can sometimes be felt under the skin. A trigger point is very tender to the touch. Pain may also spread to other parts of the affected muscle. Muscles around a knee, shoulder blade or other bones are prone to trigger points. This is because these muscles are more likely to be injured.
Easing Trigger Point Pain
The cause of your muscle pain or spasms may be one or more trigger points. Your doctor may decide to inject the painful spots to relax the muscle. This can help relieve your pain. Relaxing the muscle can also make movement easier. You may then be able to exercise to strengthen the muscle and help it heal.
Any muscle in the body can have one or more trigger points. Several injections may be needed in each trigger point to best relieve pain. These injections may be given in sessions one to two weeks apart. In some cases, you may not feel much change in your symptoms until after the third injection.
The Injection Experience
Most trigger point injections are done in your doctor's office. You will sit in a chair or lie on an exam table so your doctor can reach the affected muscle.
- Your doctor will feel and stretch the muscle to find the exact spot of the trigger point.
- Once the trigger point is found, it is injected. The injection may contain medication, such as a local anesthetic (which numbs the area).
- If you have other trigger points, the process may be repeated.
- Ask your doctor about possible risks and complications before having an injection.
Back to Activity
Be active to help your muscles heal. Your doctor may suggest exercises. Be sure to do them as often as you are told. Your doctor may also prescribe physical therapy. Stretch and strengthen your muscles and practice good posture. This helps keep muscle pain or spasms from coming back.