How Do Trigger Point Injections Relieve Pain?

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How Do Trigger Point Injections Relieve Pain?

You might think of them as muscle knots, but medically, they’re known as myofascial trigger points. These cause pain, stiffness, and weakness. Trigger point injections can break up these troublesome knots.

Fascia tissue surrounds muscle bundles, helping them slide over each other. Injury, stress, and overuse cause sticky spots to form, creating knots called myofascial trigger points.

These are temporary for many people, resolving themselves in a week or two. However, a chronic condition called myofascial pain syndrome can impact your life more severely. 

At Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management, we specialize in trigger point injections, a treatment that breaks up these knots of soft tissue. Once a trigger point releases, the pain often vanishes too. Flexibility restores, and you can focus on the important things in life. 

Causes of myofascial trigger points

When it comes down to it, perhaps the easiest answer to the cause of myofascial pain is life. You can develop trigger points from poor posture, standing or sitting in stationary or awkward positions for long hours, or living a sedentary lifestyle. 


That’s just the beginning. Trigger points can form if you’re not sleeping well or you’re feeling overall fatigue. Stress and emotional problems also add to the tension that leads to knots. They can also be symptoms of other conditions that cause pain or inflammation. 

Menopausal women, smokers, and overweight people can also suffer from more frequent or longer-lasting trigger points. 

How do trigger point injections relieve pain?

Myofascial trigger points and pain occur in about 85% of Americans at some point. Not everyone needs treatment, but when you do, trigger point injections can break up the myofascial adhesion. 

Typically, massage or physical therapy is a first-line treatment for trigger points, but these aren’t always effective. When your myofascial knots resist treatment, trigger point injections may be the next step. 

Dry needling

The theory behind trigger point injections is that pressing a needle into a myofascial knot starts a healing response that breaks up the adhesion. The simplest form of trigger point injection is called dry needling, and it’s as simple as it sounds. 

This technique uses a needle without medication or anesthetic. It’s inserted into the trigger point to stimulate the body’s repair systems. 

Pain occurring at a knot results from reduced blood flow and hypoxia, a state of low oxygen supply, in the area surrounding the adhesion. The dry needle penetration kick-starts blood flow and restores oxygen levels to the tissue. 

Trigger point injections with medication

Since trigger points cause pain and since pressing on them typically makes the pain worse, it’s logical to add an anesthetic like lidocaine to the injection. That can provide near-instant pain reduction while helping to promote longer-lasting pain relief.

Corticosteroids and botulinum toxin neuromodulators (Botox®) are also combined with an anesthetic for enhanced effects. 

Are trigger point injections right for you? Call or click to book a consultation with the nearest location of Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management, in West Des Moines or East Des Moines, Iowa.

We confirm the presence of myofascial trigger points and recommend the most appropriate treatments, including trigger point injections. The answer to your pain is out there, so contact us today.