Trigger Point Injections
A trigger point is a sensitive or irritated area within a muscle which produces pain and/or weakness in the muscle itself and other parts of the body. Trigger points occur within a variety of muscle groups, but are most common in the arms, legs and back. Often described as a "knot", they may be able to be felt through the skin.
To relieve trigger point-related pain, your doctor will first carefully locate the trigger point, then inject medication directly into it using a small needle. The trigger point then becomes inactive, reducing pain and allowing more muscle movement.
Trigger point therapy varies by patient, and may be repeated several times until pain and tenderness have been significantly decreased. Physical therapy may be recommended in conjunction with trigger point injections.
Injecting cortisone or corticosteroids into the back, knee, hip, elbow and other joints may help to reduce pain in those affected by arthritis and other degenerative diseases. During this outpatient procedure, a physician inserts a needle into the joint to deliver the anti-inflammatory medication. For some patients, only a single injection is needed; for others, a series of injections may be required.
Epidural Steroid Injections
Epidural steroid injections may be recommended for those with lower back pain that spreads to the hips or down one or both legs. During this outpatient procedure, your physician will inject anti-inflammatory medicine into the space around your spinal cord to help reduce swelling and pressure. Fluoroscopy (x-ray guidance) is often used to ensure proper needle placement. The relief offered by these injections is temporary, but can be particularly effective when combined with physical or occupational therapy to strengthen muscles and increase mobility.