Trigger Point Injections: Pain Relief for Headaches
By Dr. Mehrtash Amini
Chronic headaches are both serious health issues for much of the Canadian population. One study even found that approximately 8.3 percent of Canadians (that’s about 2.7 million people) struggle with migraines on a regular basis.
Do you deal with headaches often? Are you tired of relying on over-the-counter or prescription medications to try and relieve your pain? If so, you may want to try another approach, like trigger point injection.
Never heard of this treatment before? Keep reading. Explained below is everything you need to know about the benefits of trigger point injection for headaches.
What Is a Trigger Point Injection?
To begin, let’s go over the basics. What is a trigger point injection treatment?
TPI is a procedure used to treat painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points, or knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. Many times, such knots can be felt under the skin. Trigger points may irritate the nerves around them and cause referred pain, or pain that is felt in another part of the body. 
Benefits of Trigger Point Injection for Headaches
There are lots of different treatment options out there geared toward those struggling with headaches. What makes trigger point injections different?
One of the primary benefits of trigger point injections for headaches is the fact that it can help to address the problem at the root.
If your headaches are triggered by tension in your neck and shoulders, taking pain medication will help for a little while. Eventually, though, the effects of the medication will wear off, and you’ll be left with the same pain as before.
Trigger point injections do involve the administration of medication to help relieve pain. They also aim to promote relaxation of the muscles in the neck and/or shoulders, though.
This combination provides immediate and more long-term relief. This is especially true when the injections are combined with other treatment modalities.
You could pair it with physical therapy to correct your posture. This would also help to reduce the amount of strain and tension placed on certain muscles.
What Does the Research Say?
There’s quite a bit of evidence backing up the benefits of trigger point injections for headaches, too. The following are just a few studies illustrating the effectiveness of this treatment:
What Does the Research Say?
In this study, which took place in 2014, a group of research evaluated 20 physiotherapy students who struggled with episodic migraines. They compared this group to 20 healthy individuals who did not experience migraines.
After evaluating both groups, the researchers found that the people dealing with migraines had a much higher number of trigger points than those who did not have migraines.
This suggests that trigger point injections could be a viable treatment option that could provide a lot of relief to these individuals.
Trigger Points Are Associated with Widespread Pressure Pain Sensitivity in People with Tension-type Headache
This 2016 study looked at the connection between the presence of trigger points and pain sensitivity in folks who dealt with episodic and chronic tension headaches. They found that those who had more trigger points in their muscles had an increased sensitivity to pressure and pain than those who had fewer trigger points.
This finding suggests that trigger points, when left untreated, can exacerbate the intensity of the headaches people experience.
What to Expect from Trigger Point Injections
The idea of having a needle inserted into a knot in your muscle might be a little intimidating at first. The more you know about the treatment process, though, the less anxious you’ll likely feel.
The typical treatment usually goes something like this:
The injection process often takes just a few minutes to complete.
After you’ve talked to a doctor about your symptoms, they will check for the presence of trigger points in the muscles of your neck and shoulders. Once they’ve located the trigger points, the doctor will insert the needle and inject the anesthetic/steroid solution into the trigger point.
The duration of your treatment will vary. It depends on the number of trigger points in your muscles, as well as the severity of your headaches. You may need several injections to have a significant impact on your pain.
No Recovery Required
The great thing about trigger point injections is the fact that there’s no downtime or recovery required. Since you’re not put under anesthesia during the treatment, you can go on with your day as soon as it’s over.
Most people notice some relief almost immediately after the injections have been administered. The amount of time that the relief lasts varies from person to person. Your doctor may recommend you come and see them again every few weeks for more injections to promote long-term muscle relaxation.
Try Trigger Point Injections Today
Now that you know more about the benefits of trigger point injection treatments, does it seem like a good option for you? Are you tired of dealing with headaches? Do you want to find some medication-free relief?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, trigger point injections might be exactly what you need.
Contact us today at Be Well Medical to learn more about our trigger point injection treatments or to schedule an appointment. We offer a variety of other beneficial treatments, too, including K-Laser, MSK medicine, and more. Whether you’re dealing with acute pain or chronic pain, we’ve got the tools to get you feeling well again.