Trigger points are areas in a muscle that are very irritable and may produce not only pain in the affected muscle (head, neck, and/or shoulders), but in distant areas, called referred pain. Trigger points may develop because of trauma, injury, inflammation, or other factors. Trigger points can be present in patients with migraine, tension-type, post-traumatic, and other headache disorders.
A trigger point injection is a procedure where a medication, usually a local anesthetic, is injected into the painful muscle to provide relief in the affected muscle and the area of referred pain. In this office procedure, our providers insert a small needle into the patient’s specific areas of pain (trigger points). The injections usually contain only local anesthetics, but occasionally may contain a steroid medication. We can sometimes perform trigger point injections along with peripheral nerve blocks in the same treatment session.
Immediately after the injections, you may feel that your pain has lessened significantly. Most patients need several treatments to completely abort an exacerbation, while others may have only temporary relief of chronic pain. Prolonged positive results are more likely if combined with other treatments, such as medications and/or physical therapy. Consult with one of our providers at the Manhattan Center for Headache and Neurology to see whether this treatment is an appropriate addition to your pain regimen.
–Alice Wong, NP