Trigger point injection therapy is a treatment used to relieve the pain and stiffness caused by trigger points in your muscles. Trigger points are like knots in your muscles, and they prevent your body parts from relaxing properly. In order to relieve trigger point tenderness, special injections are put directly into each trigger point. These injections “shut down” the trigger points, providing quick or immediate relief from pain.
In the TPI procedure, a health care professional inserts a small needle into the patient’s trigger point. The injection contains a local anesthetic that sometimes includes a corticosteroid. With the injection, the trigger point is made inactive and the pain is alleviated. Usually, a brief course of treatment will result in sustained relief. Injections are given in a doctor’s office and usually take just a few minutes. Several sites may be injected in one visit. If a patient has an allergy to a certain medication, a dry-needle technique (involving no medications) can be used.
TPI is used to treat many muscle groups, especially those in the arms, legs, lower back, and neck. In addition, TPI can be used to treat fibromyalgia and tension headaches. TPI also is used to alleviate myofascial pain syndrome (chronic pain involving tissue that surrounds muscle) that does not respond to other treatments. However, the effectiveness of TPI for treating myofascial pain is still under study.