Trigger Point Injection

Trigger point injections are used to treat extremely painful areas of a muscle. Normal muscle action contracts and relaxes when it is active. A trigger point is a knot or tight band of muscle within the muscle that can be felt under the skin and forms when the muscle fails to relax.

The trigger point can irritate surrounding nerves and cause referred pain felt in another part of the body. Over time scar tissue, the loss of range of motion, and weakness may develop.

Trigger Point Injections take approximately 30 minutes. Before performing aTrigger Point Injection, the physician may give the patient a local anesthetic to prevent pain from needle penetration.
A small needle is then inserted into the trigger point and a steroid-anesthetic mixture is injected. The injection of medication inactivates the trigger point and thus alleviates pain. Sustained relief usually is achieved with a brief course of treatment. The injection may cause a twitch or pain that lasts a few seconds to a few minutes.

Numbness from the anesthetic may last about an hour and a bruise may form at the injection site. Pain can be relieved by alternately applying moist heat and ice for a day or two. In most cases, stretching exercises and physical therapy are performed following Trigger Point Injections.

Also, Trigger Point Injections are used to alleviate myofascial pain syndrome (chronic pain involving tissue that surrounds muscle) that does not respond to other treatment. Many muscle groups, especially those in the arms, legs, lower back, and neck, are treated by this method. Additionally, Trigger Point Injections can be used to treat fibromyalgia and tension headaches.


Possible side effects could be compared with common injection side effects, i.e. allergic reaction, bacterial infection, or bleeding in seldom cases. Steroid side effects are facial, eyes, arms, or legs swelling and elevated sugars for diabetic patients.

It is very important that the patient inform the physician about pregnancy or if he/she is taking blood thinning medication.