Trigger point injection (TPI) is used to treat extremely painful areas of muscle. Normal muscle contracts and relaxes when it is active. A trigger point is a knot of muscle that forms when muscles do not relax. Many times, knots can be felt under the skin. Trigger points can irritate the nerves around them and cause referred pain, or pain that is felt in another part of the body. TPI is used to treat many muscle groups, especially those in the arms, shoulders, neck, low back and legs. TPI can be used to treat tension headaches and fibromyalgia also. Trigger points are diagnosed by examining signs, symptoms, pain patterns, and manual palpitation. Often, a twitch response can be felt in the muscle by running your finger perpendicular to the muscle’s direction. Pressing on the affected muscle can often refer pain. A small needle is inserted into the trigger point once located, and a local anesthetic (numbing agent) with or without steroid is injected. Injection of these medicines inactivates the trigger point, therefore, alleviating pain. Several sites may be injected at one visit. Injections are done in office and usually take just several minutes.
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