Trigger point injections--injecting anesthetics into muscle knots--are common procedures used to help pain patients dealing with fibromyaglia and pelvic floor dysfunction, and chronic back pain sufferers. Trigger point injections are a relatively safe procedure compared to many other forms of medical treatment, but as with any treatment it is possible to suffer from some side effects.
What Are Trigger Points?
Trigger points are spots located along muscles that have suffered from trauma or other injury. Due to constant stress, these points along the muscle lose their ability to relax, causing chronic pain, throbbing and nerve irritation. Common spots where people experience trigger point pain are the head, shoulders, pelvic floor, face and back. An irritated trigger point is not the same thing as a pressure point or pulled muscle.
Who Can Benefit From Trigger Point Injections?
WebMD.com describes some of the types of chronic pain patients who can find a form of relief with trigger point injections. Fibromyalgia patients and pelvic pain sufferers with muscle spasms in their pelvic floors are two top candidates for trigger point injection therapy. During a trigger point injection, a doctor will injection a numbing agent such as lidocaine directly into the trigger point. This will numb the area so that patients will not feel the muscle spasms. When used on the pelvic floor, this injection can greatly reduce the patient's urge to urinate frequently. Some patients may go through several doctors to find the source of their pain before reaching a specialist who can identify the underlying cause of the pain and locate these trigger points.
Common Side Effects
According to Fibromyalgiasymptoms.org, one of the most common side effects of a trigger point injection is feeling pain or soreness in the injection area during the first day. In most patients, this will clear up within a day of the procedure, and then they will begin to feel relief. Other side effects can include infection, fever and light bleeding. For many patients, the relief following these injections outweighs the side effects.
Rare Side Effects
Uncommon side effects of trigger point injections are insomnia, increased hunger and drowsiness. A person with a bleeding disorder or who is allergic to anesthetics should not receive trigger point injections, as serious complications can occur. Pregnant women should also stay away from trigger point therapy.
If you are uncomfortable getting trigger point injections or if you have tried them and not found relief for your pain, talk to your specialist about alternative chronic pain treatments. Some other common treatments are narcotics, biofeedback therapy, low-grade antidepressants, muscle relaxers or some combination of the above.