Trigger point therapy is used to help ease the discomfort one may experience in his or her joints, such as the hips, shoulders and ankles, whether due to sciatica, tennis elbow, arthritis, injury, or overuse. Those with knee pain could also benefit.
Trigger point therapy for knee pain involves injecting a small amount of lidocaine into the joint to desensitize the area, decreasing discomfort, and thus, providing some relief.
This treatment aims to loosen the muscle knots in the affected area, which promotes increased blood flow and enables more essential nutrients and oxygen to reach that region of the body. While some patients undergo trigger point therapy on a consistent basis, others may only require a few sessions. A patient's response to treatment, and the frequently in which he or she should receive trigger point therapy, will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Research into the effectiveness of trigger point therapy for knee pain indicates the treatment does in fact, aid in relieving discomfort.
A 2003 study assessing how well trigger point therapy helped relieve knee pain caused by osteoarthritis (OA)—a type of arthritis that occurs due to the cartilage in the joints wearing down, explains the nonprofit Arthritis Foundation. Its objective “was to investigate whether injection of trigger points with lidocaine combined with intra-articular hyaluronic acid injection would be more effective in pain reduction and assisting daily activities of patients with knee osteoarthritis then hyaluronic acid injection alone,” the study states.
Those in the trigger point group experienced reduced pain, as well as improved range of motion and decreased activity restrictions.
Thirty-four female patients were divided into two groups, with the trigger point group receiving “intraarticular 2 ml Na-hyaluronate injections and trigger point injections, three times with one-week intervals,” continues the analysis. A physician who was not aware of the study evaluated the patients’ conditions before and after. Those in the trigger point group experienced reduced pain, as well as improved range of motion and decreased activity restrictions.
Another study, published in 2012 and shared by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, reviewed the “presence of myofascial pain in OA patients” waitlisted for a knee replacement, as well as the success rate of trigger point therapy in treating said myofascial pain. There were a total of 25 participants, and their specific trigger points were determined prior to the first treatment.
“All patients had trigger points in the vastus and gastrocnemius muscles, and 92% of patients experienced significant pain relief with trigger point injections at the first visit, indicating that a significant proportion of the OA knee pain was myofascial in origin,” the study concluded concluded.