Trigger point injections
What is a trigger point?
This is a tender point in a muscle which produces pain when pressed.
What is a trigger point injection?
It is an injection of steroid and/or local anaesthetic into the painful area of the muscle.
How does it work?
We do not know the precise mechanism. It is thought that this works by relieving the spasm/ tension in muscles.
How is it done?
You will be seen in clinic by one of the pain doctors or pain physiotherapists who will discuss this injection with you. Please inform your doctor/ physiotherapist if you have:
- Any allergies
- Are taking blood thinning medicines or steroids
- Had a recent infection or if you feel unwell on the day
The number of injections depends upon the number of trigger points and is usually between 1 and 6. Usually a mixture of steroid and/ or local anaesthetic is injected after carefully locating these points. There may be some discomfort at the time of injection. Although these medications are not licensed for this use,
they are commonly used and we have no reason to doubt that this is a safe use of these medicines (unlicensed medications are commonly used if there are no licensed medications available to treat a particular problem).
What are the side effects?
There are no major side effects. However, some of the side effects include;
- Temporary bruising or discomfort for a day or so
- The steroids may rarely cause facial flushing and fluid retention for two or three days
- It may affect periods for one or two cycles in women
- Pneumothorax (lung collapse) is a very rarely reported complication of trigger point injections.
What will happen after the injection?
These injections will not work in all the patients. If this injection relieves your pain, build up your activity level slowly. If you have already been given stretching exercises by your physiotherapist, please use this opportunity to undertake and continue these exercises.
Who do I contact if I have any problems after the procedure?
Your first point of contact will be your own GP, especially if the problem occurs outside normal working hours. If there are any problems with this, you can contact The Walton Centre during normal working hours, on 0151 525 3611, and ask to speak to the secretary of the doctor who did the procedure.
If you require any additional information or you have any further questions, then please discuss this with your consultant prior to starting the treatment.
- Last Updated:01 October 2020
- Review Date:03 October 2022
- Author:Neuromodulation Team
Trigger point injections - what they are