The New Leader in Point Injection Therapy: Trigger Point Acupuncture

trigger point acupuncture

Acupuncture has been the most widely recognized form of point injection therapy since the Chinese Stone Age. In recent years, a new form of point injection therapy called trigger point acupuncture has been receiving more and more positive feedback. Trigger point acupuncture is similar to traditional acupuncture, but a dry needle is used at the injection site versus a saline injection. With such a high success rating, many patients are eager to learn more about trigger point acupuncture, and how it can help eliminate the discomfort that they are constantly experiencing.

What Exactly Are “Trigger Points?”

Trigger points are often referred to as, “muscle knots”, and they are areas compiled of restricted muscle fibers that can create localized and referred pain. These trigger points are chiefly classified as active, latent, and satellite. Active trigger points are painful to the touch while latent trigger points are not discovered by the patient until a physician applies pressure to that particular area. Satellite trigger points generally involve referred pain coming from two previous trigger points. For instance, if an active trigger point refers pain to another trigger point, it results in a satellite trigger point as a result.

How Does Trigger Point Acupuncture Alleviate This Discomfort?

Like traditional acupuncture, trigger point therapy is guided by maps of potential injection sites. Thin, dry needles are then injected into these specific sites in hopes of the muscles starting to rapidly contract. By the muscles going through compulsions in a sense, the muscle fibers usually loosen up, causing the pain and discomfort to gradually subside. Approximately 1 out of 3 patients that undergo trigger point acupuncture find immense success in treatment and start to feel a huge decrease in pain and discomfort levels.

Am I a Good Candidate for Trigger Point Acupuncture?

Trigger point therapy is perfect for anyone who finds themselves experiencing soft tissue pain throughout their skeletal muscles. However, those who are susceptible to pain at common trigger points aren’t the only candidates suitable for this form of therapy. People who experience low back pain, tension headaches, tendonitis, and fibromyalgia symptoms may also greatly benefit from trigger point acupuncture. The list of conditions and symptoms that trigger point therapy treats is quite substantial, making a large number of patients eligible for treatment. By discussing trigger point acupuncture with your primary care physician, you can discover if you are a good potential candidate for trigger point therapy.

Are There Any Side Effects Involved?

The most common side effect reported amongst patients is localized pain at the actual site of the injection. This symptom usually subsides at an appropriate rate. Out of 101 patients who underwent trigger point therapy, only 2 experienced muscle spasms, and 1 experienced a disruption in their balance. Approximately 8% of patients report pain becoming worse, which is an exceedingly low risk. These side effects, as you can see, are quite rare, making trigger point acupuncture a safe treatment option for nearly anyone who is eligible.

Does Trigger Point Therapy Hurt?

Even though the actual needle that is injected into the trigger point is small and thin, many patients still find themselves anxious about the involvement of needles. Some patients report there being some initial discomfort associated with the injection and related trigger points, but the pain is usually outweighed by the exponential relief that is felt within the next 48 hours, or even sooner for many patients. When it comes to individuals who have to, unfortunately, experience chronic pain on a daily basis, knowing that relief is right around the corner is very reassuring, to say the least.

How Often Do I Have to Undergo Trigger Point Therapy?

The activities in our everyday lives usually contribute to the chronic pain in the trigger points that are treated. The rate at which the pain starts to reappear is usually related to how much pressure is put on the muscle and surrounding tissues on a consistent basis. This usually means that the pain will ultimately return after a prolonged period of time. Due to this, most physicians recommend having follow-up sessions whenever you start to feel pain at the trigger point returning in order to stop the pain while it is in it’s beginning stages. Treating the pain when it is just starting to come back after your previous session will hopefully result in an even higher success rate.

Living with chronic pain due to various conditions or post-injury should not be something that any individual should have to accept. Undergoing trigger point acupuncture creates the possibility of these patients experiencing an exceptional reduction in pain levels, oftentimes even giving them the gift of becoming pain-free altogether. The surprising success rates that correlate with trigger point therapy, along with it being so low maintenance, makes it a great option for those looking for a permanent, alternative solution to pharmaceuticals and related forms of treatment.


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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