Trigger point injections are used to relieve extremely painful areas of muscle. Trigger points are very tight bands or small areas of a muscle that are very sensitive to touch and pressure. The trigger point can irritate surrounding nerves and cause referred pain. Referred pain is a type of pain that radiates to nearby areas. Traumatic injury, overexertion, muscle tension, muscle spasms, pinched spinal nerves, and hormonal deficiencies are common causes of trigger points. Trigger point injections are used to treat involved muscles in many areas of the body. The neck, back and shoulders are particularly common areas injected.
Your doctor can administer trigger point injections in his or her office. Treatments take several minutes. Repeated treatments are sometimes necessary. You may receive a nerve block or simple local anesthetic prior to the procedure to prevent pain.
Your doctor will insert a small needle into your trigger point and inject a local anesthetic. The anesthetic medication provides pain relief and relaxes intense muscle spasms. A steroid medication is sometimes included in the injection. Your doctor will provide you with instructions to reduce initial pain and swelling caused by the procedure. Trigger point injections are usually followed by physical therapy treatments aimed at pain relief and muscle stretching.