Trigger Point Injections for Facial and Jaw Pain
Injecting trigger points in the cervical and jaw musculature can relieve chronic headaches and TMJ. Trigger point injections are relatively comfortable and are performed in-office. The substance injected during a trigger point injection is an anesthetic, such as lidocaine or mepivacaine. The anesthetic numbs the site, which can diminish the perception of referred pain for a few hours. While the numbness is temporary and only lasts a few hours, the therapeutic pain relief can last days to months. This is due to the mechanical disruption of the knot with a needle and modification in the transmission of the pain fibers. Occasionally, trigger point injections will require botox© for longer-lasting relief. Botox is a neurotoxin that acts against the taut muscle fibers by weakening their contracted state (Soares, 2014), and also modifies the transmission of pain by nerves. Ultimately, botox relaxes the trigger point, consequently suspending the stimulation of pain receptors and reduces any associated referred pain, such as headaches and TMJ.
References: Soares, Adriana and et al. “Botulinum toxin for Myofascial Pain Syndrome in Adults.” The Cochrane Collaboration Library Issue 7 (2014).