Trigger points are specific places on the body where muscle fibers become tight due to stress or injury. This condition of the muscle fibers is sometimes referred to as a muscle knot and can usually be felt under the skin as a raised bump or nodule. Typically these trigger points will be sensitive or tender to the touch or when pressure is placed upon them, and the tenderness or pain can even extend outward a certain distance from the trigger point. Sometimes pressure on the trigger point will elicit a muscle twitch in the related muscle fibers.
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Trigger point injections have been shown to be one of the most effective treatments for inactivating trigger points and providing patients with pain relief. For a trigger point injection, the doctor will clean the area where the needle is to be inserted. Usually, the patient will be asked to stop taking any medications that have blood-thinning effects; this is to prevent excessive bleeding at the injection site. At the moment of injection, the patient may experience a sensation of pressure, a temporary sharp pain as the needle penetrates the tight muscle fibers, or muscle twitching. Often, it will be necessary to administer a few injections in the same area during the same treatment to ensure all the tender areas have been relieved. Overall, the treatment lasts only a few minutes and recovery time is typically very short.