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Pain Management - Trigger Point Injections

Introduction

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.

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Treatment
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.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.